Myanmar: Companies issue statements on their commitments to the respect for human rights, the rule of law, and democracy
Since the beginning of February 2021, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre has been closely monitoring the situation in Myanmar and reaching out to companies by inviting them to publish their statements on our website. Many companies have signed on to a “Statement by Concerned Businesses Operating in Myanmar”, facilitated by Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business where businesses asserted the need to ensure the safety of their employees, to provide essential services to the Myanmar people, to respect their individual rights to freedom of expression, and to see a swift resolution of the current situation based on dialogue and reconciliation.
Over 200 multinational and local companies have signed onto the statement including Acteus, adidas, Amer Sports, Artelia, Asian Research Institute for Environmental Affairs (ARIEL) Pty Ltd, Audaxia Global, Audier & Partners, Beiersdorf (NIVEA/Hansaplast), BESTSELLER, Big Dutchman Myanmar, Bolloré Logistics, CANAL+, Carlsberg, Coca-Cola Myanmar, De Heus, DSV Air & Sea, ENI, Ericsson Group, Facebook, Fresh Studio, Frontiir, H&M Group, HEINEKEN, Humology, Jotun Myanmar, Kantar Myanmar, KappAhl, Kelvin Chia Yangon Ltd, LITHAN, L’Oréal, Maersk, MDF Asia Myanmar, METRO, Monkiri, MPRL E&P Pte Ltd., Nestlé, Nishimura & Asahi Myanmar Ltd., Ooredoo, PERM, Rice, Schenker Myanmar Co Ltd, Telenor, TOTAL, Unocal Myanmar, Unilever, Woodside, and Zuellig Pharma.
We are also monitoring the objections of both local and international businesses to the Draft Cyber Security Bill, which introduces clauses that have severe social, economic, and human rights consequences on the people and businesses operating in the country [view developing story here]. This includes statements from local groups: Myanmar Computer Federation, Myanmar Press Council; and international companies/businesses: Telenor, EuroCham Myanmar, French Myanmar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, German Myanmar Business Chamber, British Chamber of Commerce, Greece - Myanmar Chamber of Commerce, New Zealand Myanmar Chamber of Commerce, American Chamber of Commerce Myanmar, Italy Myanmar Business Association, India Myanmar Chamber of Commerce, Global Network Initiative, and Asia Internet Coalition.
In recognition of businesses’ interest in having a stable business environment in Myanmar, we continue to engage businesses operating and/or investing in the country in order to give them the opportunity to publicly share via BHRRC their commitments to the respect for human rights, the rule of law, and democracy and details of their human rights due diligence.
We listed four questions to guide companies in addressing issues critical to the situation in Myanmar:
- How long has your company been operating or investing in Myanmar?
- What policies and procedures do you have to ensure that your company’s operations will not directly cause or contribute to human rights abuses as the situation in Myanmar unfolds (this includes potential violence and harassment to your workers and the communities where your investments are situated)? If your company comes across allegations of rights violations, will such information be made available?
- Are there immediate steps that your company has taken or is prepared to take to ensure that your company continues to respect human rights?
- What other commitments to all stakeholders can you publicly share as regards the following: respect for the rule of law and democracy, freedom of association and collective bargaining, freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly (including your company’s policy on workers who join protests), wages, job security, anti-discrimination, non-retaliation, and others?
The companies' responses are linked below.