Tag: Myanmar coup

Indian firm Vaibhav Global Limited allegedly selling Myanmar gems in US, despite sanctions: Justice For Myanmar

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November 24, 2021, Myanmar: Indian publicly listed jewellery company Vaibhav Global Limited is allegedly continuing to trade in Myanmar gems, despite the illegal February 1 attempted military coup and US, EU and UK sanctions against state-owned Myanma Gems Enterprise (MGE), which is now under military control. Through MGE, the Myanmar military receives a share of revenue from all gemstones sold.

Vaibhav Global allegedly sells jewellery with Myanmar gems via major online retailers including Amazon and Overstock, as well as its own website and TV channel, The Jewellery Channel. In the US, Vaibhav Global also sells loose rubies from Mogok and Mong Shu, Myanmar, but list the country of origin as “India”.

A ban on Myanmar origin gems is urgently needed to stop the trade. Section 203 of the Burma Act of 2021, introduced in October and currently before Congress, authorises the prohibition of all US imports of Myanmar gemstones. Justice For Myanmar urges members of Congress to stand with the people of Myanmar by passing the Burma Act and prohibit imports of Myanmar gemstones.

Justice For Myanmar spokesperson Yadanar Maung says: “It is unacceptable that over six months since sanctions were imposed on MGE, companies are openly trading Myanmar gems in the US and other jurisdictions. This is a slap in the face of the Myanmar people, who are being subjected to immense suffering at the hands of the terrorist military junta. The US Government needs to do more, including imposing a total ban on the import of Myanmar gemstones and sanctioning Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise.

We also call on other international governments to urgently impose targeted sanctions that will stop the flow of funds to the Myanmar military, which finance its campaign of terror. We appeal to members of the US Congress to swiftly pass the Burma Act and ban all imports of Myanmar gemstones. Vaibhav Global investors also must act in accordance with their obligations under the OECD Guidelines.

If Vaibhav Global does not stop trading in Myanmar gems, shareholders must divest. These gems are stained with the blood of the people of Myanmar. US consumers have power to act. Boycott Myanmar gems and demand businesses like Amazon and Overstock stop selling these blood-stained products.”

According to filings, Vaibhav Global’s institutional shareholders include The Vanguard Group, Dimensional Fund Advisors, State Street Global Advisors, BlackRock and the Florida State Board of Administration, all based in the US. The USA is Vaibhav Global’s biggest market, with 2021 financial year revenue at US$234.9 million, according to its latest annual report.

Source : Media release, Justice for Myanmar.

Photographic & video evidence contradicts Adani Ports denial of ties to Myanmar army: Australian Centre for International Justice

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Protest in Australia against Adani ties with Myanmar military

By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 1 April 2021: The Australian Centre for International Justice has in a press release in response to Adani Ports’ denying business with the Myanmar army (Adani press release) in response to the release of the report ‘Port of Complicity: Adani Ports in Myanmar’ has said Adani Ports denial is misleading as it fails to disclose ties with the Myanmar army. (Press release)

Relevant facts

• Adani Ports is in direct business with the MEC, a United States’ sanctioned entity.

• On 23 May 2019, Adani Ports entered into a ‘build, operate, transfer’ (BOT) agreement with MEC.

• Adani Ports’ Myanmar subsidiary, the Adani Yangon International Terminal Company Limited, is constructing a container port in Yangon on MEC’s military-owned land.

• Documents from the Yangon Region Investment Commission show Adani Ports is purportedly paying land lease fees of up to US$52 million to MEC, its business partner.

• As is widely and publicly known, and is now acknowledged by US and UK sanctions, revenue from the military’s owned and controlled businesses help contribute to the military’s ability to commit atrocities in Myanmar.

• In August 2018, the UN Human Rights Council with the release of the Fact-Finding Mission’s report, issued a public warning to foreign corporations not to do business with the Myanmar military’s owned and controlled businesses. Some 10 months later, in May 2019, Adani Ports entered into an agreement with MEC, despite this public warning to foreign businesses.

• In April 2019, the UN Human Rights Council issued another warning and passed a resolution reminding foreign corporations, to respect international human rights and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in respect of Myanmar.

• On July 27, 2019, Adani Ports hosted Myanmar’s Commander-in-Chief and MEC leader, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing at Mundra Ports, 10 days after the US barred his entry into the US citing his role in the military’s campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya. The atrocity crimes of the military, led by Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, are being investigated at the ICJ and ICC in The Hague.

• In September 2019, after being listed in the UN Human Rights Council’s Fact-Finding Mission Report, Adani Ports remained silent about this public listing, even while other corporations listed in the FFM’s report, commenced a review of their business operations, and ultimately disengaged from the military-owned businesses in Myanmar.

• In February 2021, Adani Ports stated that it categorically denied engaging with the military leadership. This was contradicted by photographic and video evidence.

The Australian Centre for International Justice and Justice report on Myanmar has called on the National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) and BSE to take regulatory action against Adani Ports, by requiring the company to respond to Port of Complicity in full and to disclose to shareholders its business links to the Myanmar military and the associated risks, including the implications of US sanctions against Adani Ports’ business partner, MEC. Regulatory action would follow a precedent set by the Singapore Stock Exchange (SGX), which initiated regulatory action against Emerging Towns and Cities Singapore (ETC) for land lease payments to the Myanmar army.

Ahsan Haque from the Burmese Rohingya Community in Australia says, “It doesn’t inspire confidence in me, that the Adani Group claims to uphold human rights while it is still in business with military conglomerate, MEC. Adani Ports didn’t think about the human rights of the Rohingya when it went into business with MEC, a company led by General Min Aung Hlaing, who ordered genocide against my people, or when it rolled out the red carpet to him even while the whole world was beginning to act against the generals for the military’s crimes. MEC financed genocide against my people; no claims about respecting human rights are going to change that fact. Adani Ports has no choice but to end its business with the military, and because it still denies its business with MEC, we call on investors to act and divest from Adani Ports.”

Yadanar Maung, spokesperson for Justice For Myanmar says, “Adani Ports is complicit in the commission of atrocity crimes in Myanmar. Not only has the Myanmar military killed over 530 people protesting the military junta since the February 1 coup, but they are also conducting airstrikes against innocent villagers in ethnic areas that constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity. Adani Ports has shown a repeated failure to take responsibility and to be truthful, so it is time the BSE and NSE take action against Adani Ports. The Singapore Stock Exchange (SGX) has taken regulatory action against Singapore listed company ETC for a similar lease deal with the Myanmar military and we urge the BSE and NSE to take lessons from the SGX and act urgently. Action is critical now that the Myanmar military is violating international human rights and humanitarian law, by using most lethal weapons against civilians.”

Myanmar coup: ASEAN split over the way forward

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The events in Myanmar pose a challenge to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which is struggling to decide whether to stick to its principle of non-interference in members’ internal affairs or not.

By Rodion Ebbighausen

After Myanmar’s military dislodged the civilian government in a coup and took over power on February 1, nationwide protests and a mass campaign of civil disobedience ensued against the junta.

The military has carried out a brutal clampdown on the protesters.

As of March 26, 164 demonstrators had been killed, according to official figures. But as per data provided by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), over 300 people had lost their lives.

There is no end in sight to the crisis, which poses several challenges for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a regional alliance.

Writing in the Bangkok Post, Thai political expert Thitinan Pongsudhirak even calls it an “existential crisis” for the grouping.

ASEAN’s diplomacy and reputation put to the test
First, the diplomatic weight of the alliance is at stake. It would be a serious blow to ASEAN’s importance if, for instance, the United States were to cancel its participation in the next East Asia Summit or ASEAN summit because it was not prepared to sit at the same table with Myanmar’s generals.

Second, the reputation of the alliance is suffering. Images of nationwide mass demonstrations against the military regime and of demonstrators being killed and wounded are being circulated around the world. This is also tarnishing ASEAN’s image. The bloc is already accused of not taking its own human rights charter seriously.

Third, a breakup of Myanmar, which is by no means ruled out, would endanger the stability of the entire region. People have already started fleeing to places like India and Thailand.

After the last violent crackdown on protests in 1988, 360,000 people fled to Bangladesh, China, India, Malaysia and, particularly, Thailand, according to a report by the International Commission of Jurists.

In an opinion piece for the Bangkok Post, former Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Pirmoya warned of a “refugee crisis” and destabilization of the border regions.

He added: “ASEAN not only has the right, but the responsibility, to act decisively and take concrete actions to ensure that Myanmar’s generals end the violence, reverse their coup, respect the will of the people, and allow democracy to prevail in Myanmar.”

Divided reactions to the coup
In contrast to the former foreign minister’s clear appeal, Thailand’s government, which itself came to power in a coup in 2014, has so far avoided criticizing the Myanmar military, calling the coup an internal affair of the country.

Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines have reacted in the same way. While the governments of Vietnam and Cambodia are authoritarian regimes themselves, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has declared war on democracy in his country.

Malaysia and Indonesia, on the other hand, took a stand against the Myanmar military junta and criticized the violence there. Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin expressed his “disgust at the continuing deadly violence against unarmed civilians.”

Indonesian President Joko Widodo called for an immediate end to the violence and announced that he would, together with Brunei, call a special meeting of ASEAN. Brunei is the current chair of the bloc.

“Dialogue and reconciliation must be carried out immediately to restore democracy, to restore peace and to restore stability in Myanmar,” Widodo said.

A first in ASEAN’s history
“This is quite a strong statement, especially considering ASEAN’s usual ‘quiet’ and noninterference approach,” Deasy Simandjuntak, an expert from the ISEAS-Yusof-Ishak-Institute in Singapore, told Malaysian newspaper The Straits Times.

Since its founding in 1967, ASEAN has pursued behind closed doors and consensus-based diplomacy.

With this approach, ASEAN succeeded, for instance, in convincing Myanmar to accept international aid in 2008 after the devastating cyclone Nargis, which claimed about 100,000 lives.

It was also ASEAN that admitted Myanmar to the club in 1997, despite international pressure not to do so. Becoming a member of the bloc contributed to the subsequent opening of the country.

Public criticism of Myanmar and the call for a summit that is primarily about a domestic political crisis in a member state is a first for ASEAN. Myanmar’s military generals will certainly not be amused by the criticism coming now from some of the bloc’s member states, as Thailand’s generals were let off scot-free after the 2014 coup.

Another factor that complicates a dialogue with the generals is that it has so far been ASEAN’s Muslim-majority countries that condemned the coup and crackdown in Buddhist-majority Myanmar. And these countries have already been critical of Myanmar’s policies toward the Rohingya community.

This situation could lead to the junta foregoing some friendships. As the generals had previously stated at the United Nations: “We are used to sanctions, and we survived … We have to learn to walk with only [a] few friends.”

No success without unity
So, the questions are, first, whether it will be possible to create the necessary unity within ASEAN so that the Myanmar generals cannot avoid dialogue even with their critics within the alliance, and, second, whether the confrontational approach, by ASEAN standards, would be more successful than the quiet diplomacy of the past. Both questions are interrelated.

With regard to the first question, an unnamed ASEAN diplomat told Japan’s Asian Nikkei Review: ASEAN “is like a faulty Rubik’s cube where it is impossible to get all the colors aligned on one side.” ASEAN’s disunity, in turn, diminishes the confrontational approach’s chances of success.

This article has been translated from German.

Source- dw.com, 29 March 2021.

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Massive ‘Save Myanmar’ solidarity candle vigil & meeting ; Peter Khalil urges ‘strategic courage’ by Federal Govt. for targeted sanctions against coup regime

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By Neeraj Nanda

MELBOURNE, 27 March 2021: On a day when scores including a young boy of five were reportedly killed in one of the bloodiest days since the army coup in Myanmar (Burma), the Burmese community, and many others held a candle-light vigil and solidarity meeting in Springvale. A somber but determined expression of support for these people facing a lethal crackdown was evident. The ‘Burma Night Fundraising Event’ at the Waltzing Matilda Hotel, Springvale was a powerful expression of democratic solidarity.

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Different ethnic groups performed their dances and songs as people laid roses at the martyr’s corner specially set up for the candlelight vigil with two big electronic flames on both sides. Photographs of those who lost their lives in the ongoing protests were there as a homage. Nearby an exhibition of posters, banners, and photo clippings on display traced the protest movement’s progress. No doubt, one could see the unfolding tragedy on display. The posters with Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is in detention at an undisclosed location gave those present a message of hope.

The meeting saw bipartisan support with Labor MP Peter Khalil, Liberal Bruce Atkinson Member for Eastern Region, Labor’s Meng Heang Tak Member of Legislative Assembly from Clarinda, Former Clarinda MP Home Ling and many from the Burmese community addressed those present. An informative slide show detailed the struggle for democracy.

In his powerful speech and later talking to SAT, Peter Khalil called upon the Federal Government to show strategic courage to support the people of Myanmar by targetted sanctions against the coup regime, put pressure on Australian companies to stop doing business in Myanmar, a visa amnesty for students and others from Myanmar in Australia and recognize the CRPH government as the legitimate government of Myanmar.

Addressing the gathering Bruce Atkinson supported the fighting people of Myanmar but said could not commit to the points raised by Peter Khalil.

Meng Heang Tak condemned the army coup and said we stand in solidarity with the people of Burma.

Myanmar diaspora came in full strength and raised the three fingers symbol of the anti-coup struggle in their country. Different communities wore their traditional dresses and sang songs in solidarity.

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