By SAT News Desk
MELBOURNE, 16 December 2020: The ‘Stop Adani’ environment organization has alleged: “Australia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Future Fund, is investing taxpayer money in an Adani Group company that is funding critical aspects of the controversial Carmichael Coal Project and holds business ties to the Myanmar military”.
In a statement emailed today to South Asia Times (SAT), Stop Adani says, ” Rohingya community, human rights, and environmental groups are calling on the Future Fund to divest its equity holdings from Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone, because of critical environmental, social and corporate governance failings of the company in Myanmar and Australia.
In January 2019 Adani Ports entered into a commercial relationship with Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC), a Myanmar military holding company, to build an international port in Yangon on military-owned land.
Adani Ports entered into a lease with MEC for 50 years for an investment of USD $290 million for the construction of Ahlone International Port Terminal 2. The Myanmar military owns four commercial ports in Yangon that are currently operational. The first phase of Adani’s port is scheduled for completion in 2021.”
Pablo Brait, a campaigner with Market Forces said: “The Future Fund should be investing in the companies building our future, not those that are destroying it. Adani Ports’ role in the Carmichael coal project – a project that will fuel the climate crisis and the extreme weather that it is causing – shows it is a terrible investment for the Future Fund to be making with our money. It is clear that Adani Ports has a very concerning environmental, social, and governance risk profile beyond its role in climate-wrecking coal.
The media statement says:
“Adani Ports’ business with the Myanmar military, in disregard of human rights, follows its recently revealed direct role in the Carmichael coal project in Australia, which is a major threat to the environment and Traditional Owners of the land, the Wangan and Jagalingou people. Adani Ports has recently established the subsidiary Bowen Rail Company to transport coal from the Carmichael mine.
The groups submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Future Fund, to disclose any holdings it has in Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd. The Future Fund disclosed AUD$3.2 million in equity holdings, invested despite the company’s widely known and heavily criticized environmental and human rights record.
In August 2019 UN Human Rights Council’s Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar warned that companies involved with the MEC risked being complicit in funding the financial operations of the Myanmar military and urged companies to sever ties.”
Mohammad Junaid from the Burmese Rohingya Community in Australia says, “It is shocking to the Rohingya people that Australia’s Future Fund has invested in a company that is doing business with the Myanmar military. The UN has condemned foreign companies profiting at our expense.”
Member of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, Australian lawyer, Chris Sidoti said: “Adani is in bed with the Myanmar military and now it seems the Future Fund is in bed with Adani.
“Australia’s sovereign wealth fund should follow the lead of similar funds in other countries and of increasing numbers of pension funds, moving towards disinvesting from companies in league with Myanmar’s murderous military.
Rawan Arraf, Director of the Australian Centre for International Justice said: “Despite United Nations condemnation of Adani Ports’ business ties with the Myanmar military, the Australian government is investing in Adani Ports. The Future Fund is at risk of contributing taxpayer money to the financing of Myanmar military activities through its investment in Adani Ports.”
Meanwhile, “In October 2020 it was announced that global shipping giant, Maersk, will end its use of the military-owned ports in Myanmar, leaving Adani Ports, currently constructing a new military-owned port in Yangon, in serious commercial trouble, as shipping companies are under increasing pressure to end business with Myanmar’s military-owned ports. Adani Ports SEZ has been taking on debt from international banks including US, UK, Germany and Japan to finance projects including in Myanmar.”