As Myanmar began emerging from decades of authoritarian rule, economic sanctions and systemic human rights abuses, new foreign investment presented opportunities to advance human rights through the linkage of investment to responsible policies and practices. This project sought to provide a public database of major foreign companies investing or operating in Myanmar, including an open record of their human rights commitments in the region.
Starting in 2014, we reached out to 118 companies from various sectors and regions, of which 66 have sent us a response or indicated they are preparing one (56% response rate). The record of their responses and non-responses is available below.
Special Economic Zones
Myanmar has embraced Special Economic Zones (SEZs) as a means to encourage trade and investment. As these SEZs provide various incentives for businesses to invest and set up shop, affected communities raise concerns about human rights and environmental harms that could arise. Communities in these zones have also highlighted the urgent need for transparency, as well as adequate and meaningful consultation and participation of local communities in project-related decisions. The availability of relevant information about these companies is key to ensuring meaningful participation by communities in projects affecting them, and to allowing effective dialogue among companies, the government, and affected communities.
In 2016, we reached out to foreign companies involved in the Dawei, Kyaukphyu, and Thilawa Special Economic Zones (SEZ) to ask them about their human rights policies - including human rights due diligence measures, policies to address land, labour and other rights concerns, and grievance mechanisms that communities could access in case of abuses. We received two responses, from China International Trust and Investment (CITIC) and Roland Berger.