Myanmar: Kirin Should Cut Ties to Military
18 June 2020
Japan-based Kirin Holdings Company, Ltd. should end its partnership with Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd. (MEHL) because of its connections to Myanmar's abusive armed forces, Human Rights Now, Human Rights Watch, Japan Volunteer International Center, and Shapla Neer said [...]. The organizations wrote to Kirin...urging the global beverage company to terminate its partnership with the military conglomerate, and the company responded [...].
Kirin currently owns a majority stake in Myanmar Brewery Ltd. (MBL) and Mandalay Brewery (MDL) in partnership with the military-owned MEHL. In 2015, Kirin bought 55 percent of Myanmar Brewery Ltd, 4 percent of which it later transferred to the military-owned firm. In 2017, Kirin acquired 51 percent of Mandalay Brewery in a separate joint venture with the firm.
Myanmar's armed forces, known as the Tatmadaw, have long been responsible for grave violations of human rights and the laws of war against the country's ethnic minority populations. [...]
A United Nations-backed Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar reported in 2018 that atrocities committed by Myanmar's armed forces "rise to the level of both war crimes and crimes against humanity." [...] The fact-finding mission advocated the "financial isolation" of the military to deter violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.
Kirin has additional links to Myanmar's military. According to Amnesty International, Kirin's subsidiary MBL made donations worth at least US$30,000 to the Tatmadaw and Rakhine State authorities between September and October 2017. This was at the height of the military's ethnic cleansing campaign against the Rohingya.
...Kirin responded to the groups' letter, stating that it intends to "address the concerns raised by the international community regarding our business operations in Myanmar" and is "considering all actions and options available to us that will lead to a positive outcome for the people of Myanmar." [...]