February 28, 2019

Burma Campaign UK today called on Western Union to stop doing business with the military in Burma.

Western Union is one of the world’s biggest money transfer companies. They have more than half a million agents around the world where money can be transferred.

In Burma, they have chosen a bank controlled by the Burmese military as their agent.

Myawaddy Bank is a subsidiary of a giant military business conglomerate called Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd (UMEHL). Profits from Myawaddy Bank benefit the military.

In September 2018 the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on Myanmar made the following conclusions:

“…there is sufficient information to warrant the investigation and prosecution of senior officials in the Tatmadaw (Burmese military) chain of command, so that a competent court can determine their liability for genocide in relation to the situation in Rakhine State…On the basis of information gathered, the mission finds that crimes against humanity have been committed in Kachin, Rakhine and Shan States, principally by the Tatmadaw.”

It further stated:

“The actions of the Tatmadaw in Kachin, Rakhine and Shan States, in particular in the context of the “clearance operations” in northern Rakhine State in 2016 and 2017, have so seriously violated international law that any engagement in any form with the Tatmadaw, its current leadership, and its businesses, is indefensible.”

“Western Union are in business with a military which stands accused of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity,” said Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK. “We are not saying Western Union should pull out of Burma, we are saying they should not be using military banks as their business agents. They have other options.”

Burma Campaign UK is asking its supporters and members of the public to email Western Union calling on them not to do business with Burma’s military. In December 2018, Burma Campaign UK added Western Union to its ‘Dirty List’ of companies doing business with the military or linked to human rights and environmental abuses.

The Dirty List is available here.

Email Western Union here.

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