Myanmar: Report alleges sexual abuse in mining areas protected by military; Access Asia Mining responds

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Access Asia Mining to respond to a report mentioning the company’s operations as being protected by military troops who are also perpetuating sexual violence in communities in Myanmar. The Shan Human Rights Foundation is calling on the company and the military troops to withdraw from affected communities.

Access Asia Mining's response is linked below.

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Company response
14 May 2018

Response by Access Asia Mining

Author: Access Asia Mining

...AAM does not have any granted leases in Shan State...

...AAM has never engaged with the Tatmadaw to solicit their support or to request security...

...AAM has always found the areas of Myanmar that we operate in safe and secure with a welcoming people.  We have never felt the need for security...as we have no operations or permanent presence in Shan State...

...If at some point in the future AAM is granted a lease, our regional exploration will have a virtually non-existent environmental and social impact. At this state exploration is a data gathering scientific process.  As a Singapore company with Australian management we are committed to internationl best practice standards and to proceeding with our work only after extensive consultation with local communities.

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Note: The full response is linked here.

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Article
29 April 2018

Myanmar: Incidents of sexual abuse rise in areas where military troops protect mining operations

Author: Nyein Nyein, Irrawady

"Tatmadaw Troops Protecting Shan State Mine 'Pose Human Rights Threat'", 23 April 2018

The presence of Myanmar Army (or Tatmadaw) troops in eastern Shan State to protect a mining project has led to human rights abuses against civilians, according to the Shan Human Rights Foundation (SHRF), citing the recent alleged rape of an elderly woman by a soldier...

The SHRF said military impunity for sexual violence “must end,” describing it as a threat to women nationwide. “SHRF therefore welcomes the new report by the UN Secretary General on conflict-related sexual violence, which blacklists the [Tatmadaw] for being ‘credibly suspected of committing or being responsible for patterns of rape,’” ...

According to Sai Hor Hseng, the huge military presence in the ethnic areas...is partly to protect natural resources extraction companies, including Australian-run Access Asia Mining. The companies seek protection from the military for security, but it has a large impact on local residents.

Access Asia Mining plans a 150,000-acre gold-mining venture in Monghpyak. It is awaiting final approval from the Shan State government, SHRF said.

“We would like the company and army troops to withdraw from the areas,” Sai Hor Hseng said, adding that when giant companies enter the areas to conduct business, the military takes responsibility for their security, and the arrangement has high social and environmental costs.

Read the full post here