December 3, 2001

An initiative, launched today by eight investment funds, highlights Burma as a country posing unique problems for foreign companies. The eight institutions, including Morley Fund Management, Henderson Global Investors and Friends Ivory and Sime, represent £400 billion of investment. However, the UK’s Premier Oil, which has a controversial joint venture with Burma’s ruling junta, fails to meet the investors’ good practice guidelines.
The funds have issued a statement outlining the risks for companies working in Burma, which includes the threat of international boycotts, corruption and loss of shareholder confidence. In the annex to the document the funds say that companies investing in Burma should not use local security forces that are known human rights abusers, that if abuse has taken place the company should proactively investigate and prosecute, and that the company should be publicly critical of the state if it fails to carry out legal proceedings against abusers. Premier Oil has failed on these criteria and many others:
In particular Premier:
Has contracted state agencies known to have committed human rights abuses.
Has not made publicly available the nature of contracts with security forces.
Has never pursued legal investigation or prosecution of security forces who have committed abuses and who are charged with protecting its operations.
Has never expressed public disapproval of the Burmese authorities when the authorities have failed to investigate or prosecute human rights abusers.
Is in a joint venture with the dictatorship.
John Jackson, Director of the Burma Campaign says, “the investment funds have some immediate and pressing questions to ask Premier Oil. The company has not even attempted to meet the reasonable good practice measures they have recommended.”
For further information contact: John Jackson 0207 281 7377


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