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Business & human rights in post-election Myanmar

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Article
9 November 2015

How Myanmar’s landmark election could influence one of its most lucrative, and shady, industries

Author: Axel Kronholm, Vice

…As most of the country went to the polls on Sunday in the first openly contested — although not entirely free — election in 25 years, heavy fighting raged on in the north, with the Myanmar Army using helicopters and heavy artillery to attack the KIA.

The question of how Myanmar's resource-rich ethnic border regions should be governed has always been at the heart of this conflict. Over the last decade, one specific resource has emerged as more important and valuable than any other: jade, Myanmar's single most precious natural resource. And it is central to today's conflict in Kachin state…

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Article
9 November 2015

What is the future for Myanmar’s workers?

Author: David Browne, Equal Times

…FDI (foreign direct investment) and its impact on trade union and workers’ rights is a key issue for the future of the country, Maung Maung believes…Jamie Davis, Myanmar Program Director of the AFL-CIO’s Solidarity Center, tells Equal Times…“The real question is will investors come here with the idea that this is a place where labour is cheap and the rule of law is weak and they can do whatever they want, or will they share their profits in a fair way with the workers?”

…Jeff Vogt, Legal Director of the ITUC, cautions: “There are serious risks that Myanmar’s natural resources and labour will only benefit privileged domestic interests and foreign companies, while disadvantaged communities will suffer the negative impacts of poorly regulated business activities…

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Article
10 November 2015

“Foreign direct investment in Myanmar: What impact on human rights?” – new report by ITUC

Author: International Trade Union Confederation

 ITUC-Myanmar-Oct-2015

…Last year saw a rapid increase in oil and gas projects with the award of 16 onshore and 20 offshore blocks in the space of 12 months. The prospect of cheap labour is also leading the garment industry grow rapidly. Total garment exports were valued at about US$1.6 billion in 2014. Already, a number of European and American companies have established a supply-chain in Myanmar, and many others are considering doing so. Myanmar has also seen an unprecedented growth in international tourist arrivals and the tourism industry is becoming one of the fastest growing areas of the economy. This report focuses on the foreign investment in these three sectors (oil and gas, garments, and tourism) – the most significant ones today. It then assesses the human rights risks of multinational companies operating in Myanmar, particularly in the area of labour rights, land rights and conflict and security…

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