Myanmar: Military overthrows country's democratic government, hands power to army chief who allegedly presides over businesses & conglomerates with links to intl. companies
On 1 February 2021, the military of Myanmar overthrew the country's democratic government, detaining the leaders of the National League for Democracy (NLD) Party, including its leader Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint, along with cabinet ministers, the chief ministers of several regions, opposition politicians, writers, and activists.
The military said it had handed power to the army chief, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, who is alleged to preside over conglomerates and family businesses, according to The New York Times' report linked below.
The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre has, in the past, invited companies to respond to allegations that their business operations are linked to the Myanmar military through the latter's business ventures:
- In Myanmar: Investigations find companies complicit in human rights violations through business relationships with military-affiliated Mytel and Viettel (27 January 2021 ), the Resource Centre invited 21 companies to respond to the allegations in Justice For Myanmar’s investigation into the military’s systemic corruption within the information and communications sector. The investigation exposed new military procurement networks and revealed the global network of businesses complicit in enabling the Myanmar military to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity.
- In Myanmar: Companies urged to divest from Upper Yeywa dam project to avoid complicity in alleged atrocities by Burmese military (6 September 2020), the Resource Centre invited companies that were urged by the Shan Human Rights Institute to pull out from the Upper Yeywa hydropower dam project to avoid complicity in the alleged atrocities committed by the Myanmar military.
- In Myanmar: Japanese cos. allegedly engaged in high-end commercial development on land owned by Burmese military currently facing UN genocide charges (2 September 2020), the Resource Centre invited Japanese companies that are allegedly involved in the construction of Y Complex, a development on a land belonging to the Myanmar military, despite a United Nations accusation that the military is carrying out genocide.
- In Myanmar: Fact-finding mission identifies businesses linked to the military that is accused of serious rights violations; some companies respond (13 February 2020), the Resource Centre invited enterprises identified in the report by the International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, established by the UN Human Rights Council, The economic interests of the Myanmar military (5 August 2019). The report alleges that the enterprises mentioned either transfer conventional arms and related items to the Myanmar military or procure or sought to procure dual-use goods and technology for military purposes.
- In Myanmar: Kirin's subsidiaries allegedly maintain business ties with Myanmar's military; company responds, (19 January 2020), the Resource Centre invited Kirin and its subsidiaries to respond to allegations of their business partnership with the Myanmar military. The Resource Centre once again invited Kirin to respond to the allegations in light of the recent coup. The company's response is linked below.
Moreover, civil society organisations urged companies linked with the Myanmar military to sever their ties to avoid complicity in allegations of human rights violations:
- The Shan Human Rights Foundation urges companies allegedly involved from the Upper Yeywa hydropower dam project to avoid complicity in atrocities by the troops securing the site.
- The Burma Campaign UK calls for an international response to the military coup that should include sanctions against military companies and support for a global arms embargo.
The Resource Centre continues to monitor the situation in the country.