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Burma Environmental Working Group Issues Benchmarks for Investment in Energy, Extractive and Land Sectors in Burma

Today, the Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)...issues its Benchmarks for Investment in Burma’s Energy, Extractive and Land Sectors to serve as a framework for responsible investment in critical sectors in Burma. The release of the benchmarks comes at a very important time when Western democracies are considering easing or eliminating existing economic sanctions against Burma... “Investment in Burma must support genuine peace and national reform and must follow the will of local communities who have long paid the price for resource-driven investments through forced labor, land confiscation, illegal taxes, loss of life, and other human rights abuses,” said BEWG spokesperson Paul Sein Twa...BEWG’s five major benchmarks for investors: 1) Investment should not exacerbate natural resource and land-based conflict in Burma....2) Investors should respect the widely accepted global standards for environmental and human rights law while following international best practices in human rights, social and environmental impact assessments....3) Investors should have a zero-tolerance policy on corruption and should uphold full revenue and contract transparency....4) Civil society should be free to fulfill its role without threat of repression or abuse...5) Empower Communities...BEWG refers investors to...the UN Global Compact-PRI 2010 publication Guidance on Responsible Business in Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas, the 2006 OECD Risk Awareness Tool for Multinational Enterprises in Weak Governance Zones, the 2002 Global Compact Business Guide for Conflict Impact Assessment and Risk Management, the 2011 Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights...the global Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) and other best practice resources. Financers should consult the Equator Principles for initial guidance.