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12 Oct 2021

Access Now

Letter from Access Now to Telenor Board

... We write to your offices to follow up on and supplement the joint letter addressed to you on August 12, 2021 (‘August 12 letter’), signed by our organization, Access Now, and 44 other signatories. In the letter, we had expressed alarm regarding the announcement by Telenor Group to sell your Myanmar subsidiary to M1 Group, and strongly urged you and the rest of the Board to reconsider this decision and strengthen human rights safeguards.

Below we outline the most pressing concerns regarding M1 Group’s human rights record, as well as Telenor’s alarming change in course, steering away from its previous commitments to transparency and civil society engagement.

We provide a dossier below on M1 Group and its history of entering markets experiencing violence and conflict, where its operations have demonstrated willingness to collaborate with oppressive regimes on censorship, surveillance, circumvention of sanctions, and other threats to human rights. A sale to M1 Group in Myanmar — where M1’s owners have apparent associations with powerful players in the military junta — is likely to contribute to the further degradation of human rights in the country, including, in particular, through the abuse of individuals’ sensitive data which Telenor intends to transfer.

For the reasons below and in light of the information contained here on M1 Group, which the Board may be seeing for the first time, it is critical that Telenor’s Board review its decision to sell to M1 Group and urgently intervene to prevent the sale of Telenor assets in Myanmar to M1 Group...