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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 16 January 2019

NGO names 49 companies on Myanmar 'dirty list'

The list includes firms linked to the highly controversial Myanmar military

Myanmar security officials are accused of genocide against the mainly-Muslim Rohingya minority 
Myanmar security officials are accused of genocide against the mainly-Muslim Rohingya minority 

The Burma Campaign UK (BCU) has “named and shamed” 49 international companies it accuses of having links to the Burmese military, which is blamed for widespread human abuses against the Rohingya minority, a largely Muslim ethnic group.

Among the corporations included by the pro-democracy NGO in Myanmar were giants such as Facebook, Western Union and Toshiba. Also included on the ‘dirty list’ are firms whose work is linked to human rights violations or environmental destruction. BCU said the list was likely to grow.

The Burmese military has widespread business interests that it is not transparent about, the campaign said.

Companies which supply equipment to the military, or do business with the military, are complicit in the human rights violations committed by them,” said Mark Farmaner, Director of BCU.

“We are not saying don’t do business in Burma, we are saying don’t do business with the military,” he added.

The NGO also cited a UN fact finding mission to the country which said: “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.”

The BCU accused the military of being responsible for the “vast majority” of human rights violations in the country, preventing democracy emerging and targeting specific ethnic groups.

According to the campaign the European Union and governments across the planet have failed to impose sanctions on military owned and controlled firms. It added that the list was published in order to ramp up the pressure on international companies doing business with the Burmese military.

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Facebook was held accountable for failing to stop hate speech against the Rohingya. While it was accepted that Facebook had taken some proactive steps in the right direction, the report said they had not done enough in preventing the spread of propaganda against the Rohingya.

Meanwhile, Japanese conglomerate’s Chinese subsidiary, Toshiba Hydro Power, was criticised for supplying turbines to a dam opposed by residents.

“We urge foreign countries to stop promoting and investing in dams in Burma’s war zones. It is fuelling conflict, and undermining efforts to seek peace,” Nang San San Aye, a Shane State MP, told BCU.

Updated: December 11, 2018 02:05 PM

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