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Myanmar: Western Union reportedly backs Myanmar’s military through its business relationship with military-owned bank

Author: 33 Civil Society Organizations, Published on: 10 November 2019

"Open letter to Western Union President and CEO Hikmet Ersek", 29 Oct 2019

We represent 33 organizations calling on Western Union to end its business relationship with Burma’s military. The Burmese military has been accused by United Nations investigators of being responsible for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

Western Union is in a business relationship with a military-owned bank in Burma, which it uses as one of its agents in the country. Myawaddy Bank is a subsidiary of a giant military business conglomerate called Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd (UMEHL). Profits from Myawaddy Bank benefit the military…

Western Union is doing business with a military responsible for the rape of thousands of women, and the killing of thousands more. There are plenty of alternative non-military companies in Burma that Western Union can use in Burma. There is no justification for putting money into the pockets of Burma’s brutal military…

By partnering with Burma’s generals, Western Union puts at risk its reputation and that of its top management.

We urge Western Union to end its partnership with Myawaddy Bank. We further urge Western Union to adopt a policy of not doing business with any Burmese military-owned or military-controlled companies and conduct the necessary thorough due diligence to ensure that it does not partner with such companies again.

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Related companies: Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings (UMEHL) Western Union