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27 Jul 2021

Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO)

Complaint against Telenor for irresponsible disengagement from Myanmar

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27 July 2021


The complaint — filed at the Norwegian National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises by 474 Burmese civil society organisations and supported by SOMO — contends that Telenor’s sale of its Myanmar business to M1 Group fails to meet the standards of responsible disengagement set out in the OECD Guidelines, in three key respects:

  • Telenor has failed to conduct appropriate risk-based due diligence and has failed to seek to prevent or mitigate adverse human rights impacts potentially arising from the sale of its Myanmar operations.
  • The Norwegian company has failed to meaningfully engage with relevant stakeholders in relation to the sale of Telenor Myanmar to M1 Group, including the Myanmar-based civil society organisations endorsing the complaint.
  • Telenor has not been transparent in relation to its decision to disengage from its Myanmar operations.

Telenor’s sale to M1 Group comes after the Myanmar military’s February 1, 2021, military coup and brutal crackdown on peaceful protests, civil society and independent media, as well as heightened electronic surveillance. M1 Group is a Lebanese company owned by the billionaire Mikati family, who have a history of business in countries with authoritarian regimes including Syria, Sudan and Yemen, as well as unresolved allegations of corruption and terrorist financing. M1 Group was identified by the 2019 UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar as having financial links to the Myanmar military as a result of their investment in an infrastructure company that has commercial ties to a Myanmar military mobile operator.