Myanmar: Business & investor responses to the Rohingya crisis

[Updated Dec 2017] Over half a million Rohingya refugees have fled Rakhine State in Myanmar since 25 August 2017 when a group that calls itself the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) claimed responsibility for coordinated attacks on police and army posts. This has led to intensified military-led security operations, including the burning down of Rohingya villages in “clearance operations”, as well immense humanitarian challenges both in Rakhine State and in Bangladesh, where those fleeing violence have sought refuge. Refugees continue to arrive in Bangladesh to date.

The response of the private sector is important not only due to the scale of the crisis, but also because Myanmar is in a critical stage in its economic development – having just transitioned to a nominally civilian government after over half a century of military rule. On this page, we compile the actions some companies have taken, as well as the proposals and demands for company action being advanced by civil society.

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19 September 2017

Myanmar: Telenor issues statement expressing grave concern for escalating developments in Rakhine

Author: Telenor (Norway)

"Situation in Rakhine State", 12 Sep 2017

Over the last week, there has been an escalation of violence in Rakhine State, Myanmar. International organizations have labelled the situation a “humanitarian crisis”, amid a surge of refugees on the border between Myanmar and Bangladesh. Today, Telenor issued the following statement on the dire situation in the region, urging dialogue and engagement among the involved actors. “We view with grave concern the escalating developments in Rakhine, and support the main recommendations in the Final Report of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, chaired by Kofi Annan. We share the call for open dialogue, and sustained engagement between all actors to chart a positive vision for the future of Rakhine State. Telenor in Myanmar is committed to rolling out mobile network in all states across the country, including Rakhine, and providing mobile and internet access to all people, without discrimination. Telenor Group is committed to respecting human rights in all our markets; equality and non-discrimination is core to who we are as a company.”...For more information about Telenor Group’s operations in Myanmar, follow this link.

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14 September 2017

Myanmar: Leber Jeweler condemns ethnic cleansing against Rohingya people; encourages cos. to follow suit

Author: Brian Leber, Leber Jeweler (USA)

“A textbook example of ethnic cleansing." These are the words used by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights...describing the treatment of the Rohingya people. What is happening right now in Burma (Myanmar) may very well go down in history as genocide should the world fail to act...[T]his is in a country whose de facto leader is Nobel Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi...International condemnation is widespread...Aung San Suu Kyi has been unresponsive...Her official office has been dismissive, calling news reports of mass rape by the military "fake news,"...accusing international aid workers trying to assist fleeing refugees of helping “terrorists." Despite international other major group has remained mute; the large number of western corporations that quickly moved into Myanmar immediately following the cessation of sanctions... [I]t is the moral responsibility of business leaders, especially those western companies now working in Burma, to use their voices and their economic influence. They have the means to strongly encourage Myanmar's government to immediately cease this ethnic cleansing operation...For every company that remains silent to the suffering of the Rohingya people and continues forward with business as usual in Burma, they will find themselves on the wrong side of history.

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