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21 May 2020

Human Rights Now, Human Rights Watch, Japan International Volunteer Center & SHAPLA NEER

Civil society group's letter concerning Kirin's business operations in Myanmar

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We, the undersigned civil society groups, are writing to urge you to review the business operations of Kirin Holdings Company, Ltd (“Kirin”) in Myanmar. Specifically, we call on Kirin to end its partnership with the military conglomerate Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd. (MEHL) in light of the widespread and continuing human rights violations committed by the Myanmar armed forces, the Tatmadaw, against the Rohingya, Rakhine, and other ethnic minorities in the country. This partnership is contrary to Kirin’s Human Rights Policy and harms the company’s global image.


In 2015, Kirin acquired 55 percent of Myanmar Brewery Ltd. (MBL) in a partnership with the military-owned conglomerate MEHL. It transferred 4% of its outstanding shares to MEHL in 2017. Following this initial partnership, Kirin acquired 51 percent of Mandalay Brewery in another joint venture with MEHL in 2017. The 2019 FFM report also noted Kirin’s partnerships with MEHL.


If Kirin is serious about upholding the Kirin Group’s Human Rights Policy, which states the company will respect international commitments to human rights including the International Bill of Human Rights and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, it should urgently act to end its business partnership with the MEHL and prevent its subsidiaries from making any further donations to the military. [...]

By deciding to operate in Myanmar in a way that does not finance the Myanmar military or legitimize its reputation, specifically by ending its partnership with MEHL, Kirin will send a message to the Tatmadaw, the Myanmar government and the global community that the grave international crimes against the Rohingya have consequences, and the fate of the 740,000 Rohingya refugees living in dire conditions in Bangladesh will not go unrecognized.