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12 Jul 2022

Myanmar: Justice For Myanmar says Kirin Holdings’ exit “irresponsible” for placing military conglomerate in control of their joint venture; incl. co. response

On 30 June 2022, Kirin announced its exit policy from Myanmar and decided to transfer all shares of Myanmar Brewery Limited (MBL), a joint venture with allegedly military-linked Myanma Economic Holdings Public Company Limited (MEHPCL), to MBL. The press release explained three possible options that Kirin had, and finally decided on a share transfer to MBL in a share buyback transaction to prioritise quick termination of the joint venture. It also stated that Kirin would take into consideration the impact on local employees, business partners, and others in the local Myanmar communities.

To this decision, Justice for Myanmar described Kirin's exit "irresponsible", as the current exit plan would continue providing revenue to the Myanmar military by placing MEHPCL in control of MBL. Its press release stated the responsible move should be denying funds to the Myanmar military and remedying the negative impact on workers. It also demanded Kirin disclose their human rights due diligence, and the fate of the dividends that they had been withholding from MEHPCL.

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre asked Kirin to respond to Justice for Myanmar, especially on three questions raised:

  1. What measures have you taken with regard to the assessment of workers and those affected by your Myanmar operations, and remedies through compensation for any negative impacts?
  2. How is human rights due diligence implemented?
  3. How do you plan the fate of all funds, including dividends withheld from the MEHPCL?

Full response from Kirin is available below.