Commenting on Kirin Holdings’ statement today that it would end its joint venture, Myanma Economic Public Company Limited (MEHL), with the Myanmar military, Amnesty International Australia Campaigner, Tim O’Connor said:
“We welcome that Kirin, which owns Australian and New Zealand brewing and beverage giant Lion, has finally divested from its MEHL joint venture with the Myanmar military.
“This decision by Kirin to divest in Myanmar sends a clear message to all companies investing there. It was difficult to insulate the tentacles of the Myanmar military and its leaders from business before the coup. Following the coup this week, investors in Myanmar must be able to assure their consumers that the products they purchase are not tainted with the blood of innocent people.
“Three years ago, the world watched in horror as the Myanmar security forces, led by General Min Aung Hlaing committed widespread and systematic attack on the Rohingya population, including mass murder, rape and razed villages.
“Almost one million Rohingya people have fled their homes, escaping violence and persecution, to seek safety in Bangladesh. Rohingya people remaining in Myanmar continue to live in internment camps in apartheid conditions. The dividends that MEHL received through joint ventures with Kirin likely helped finance these atrocities.
“As we said when Aung San Suu Kyi’s government was returned at the election last year, there was nothing to stop the Myanmar military continuing to inflict human rights abuses with impunity as conflicts in Rakhine, Chin, and Northern Shan States rage. Civilians – including Rohingya, Shan and Chin ethnic women, men and children – are being killed, maimed or injured by indiscriminate airstrikes, shelling, crossfire and landmines.
“They will continue to commit human rights abuses unless the international community acts to impose multilateral sanctions on officials involved in this systemic violence.”