Western Union Drops Military Myawaddy Bank As Its Agent
We have removed Western Union from our Dirty List following confirmation that they have stopped using the military-owned Myawaddy Bank as one of their agents in Burma.
Thank you to everyone who took part in the campaign.
In an email to Burma Campaign UK on 7th January 2020, Western Union stated: “In Myanmar and other countries in conflict, Western Union plays a critical role in connecting people – whether families sending money to loved ones to meet basic needs like healthcare and food, or humanitarian aid organizations in need of funds for the work on the ground. Providing these services requires the use of local agents remunerated by a commission payment. Western Union conducts agent due diligence and oversight through periodic reviews to determine whether these agents satisfy relevant regulatory requirements and Western Union policies. As a result of such a review, Western Union has ended its contract with Myawaddy Bank, effective immediately.”
Western Union is one of the largest cross border financial transfer companies in the world. 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.
“Western Union deserve credit for doing the right thing. They are the biggest company so far to cut their business ties to the military,” said Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK. “This is a significant step forward in our campaign to stop international companies funding genocide and crimes against humanity in Burma. We will be stepping up pressure on other companies on our ‘Dirty List’ including Portia Management Services, a British company managing a military owned port in Yangon.”
The Dirty List
The Dirty List names international companies doing business with the military in Burma. The list also includes international companies involved in projects where there are human rights violations or environmental destruction.
In September 2018, the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on Myanmar, which has been investigating human rights violations in the country, stated:
“The actions of the Tatmadaw (Burmese military) 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.”