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30 Dec 2021

Myanmar: CSOs & individuals urge Japanese co. KDDI & Sumitomo not to facilitate human rights abuses by military junta; incl. co. responses

On 18 October 2021, 46 CSOs and 18 individuals wrote an open letter to Japanese companies KDDI and Sumitomo, which have state-owned telecommunications firm Myanma Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) as their business partners in Myanmar Business. The letter shows concern on both companies' "seemingly weak response to and overall lack of transparency regarding reports that MPT had made preparations to collaborate with the regime’s surveillance efforts." Also, it alerts that existing measures demonstrated in the stances released by KDDI and Sumitomo "will do little to protect the rights of MPT’s customers." Furthermore, the letter condemns that both companies have no plan to stop business with junta-related MPT.

The letter states three minimum steps that two companies should take:

  1. Disclose the steps you have taken to heighten your due diligence mechanisms in light of the increased risk of gross human rights violations since the coup;
  2. Engage in heightened human rights due diligence, incorporating tools from atrocity prevention, to assess whether MPT’s infrastructure, KSGM assets or profits from the joint operation are being used to crack down on dissent and commit gross human rights violations;
  3. Make the findings of your investigation public and take the appropriate measures to protect the rights of MPT’s customers

Both companies provided comments to the letter. The comments are linked below.