The Amnesty investigation linked Kirin to the military crime of Myanmar. Global development

One of the world’s largest brewers, Kirin – whose subsidiaries include San Miguel and craft beer brewed in the US and UK – has been linked to crimes committed by the Myanmar military following an Amnesty International investigation.

Kirin has a partnership with a Myanmar-based group with interests in mining, beer, tobacco, apparel manufacturing, and banking, whose shareholders include military units directly involved in serious human rights crimes against the Rohingya people, by human rights analysis Has been found

Kirin told Amnesty that it was “very upset” by the findings and has launched an investigation.

One-third of all Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited (MEHL) shares are owned by military units, among them combat divisions, Amnesty claims in a report published on Thursday. Leaked shareholder records seen by Amnesty suggest that after the group was founded in 1990 by the then military regime of the country, nearly £ 12 billion in dividend payments were paid to military units.

“This is not the case of MHHL that inadvertently funding human rights violations – its entire board is made up of high-level military figures,” said Mark Dummett, head of trade, security and human rights at Amnesty.

Generals Min Aung Hling, second right, and Soo Win, right, with Minister of Home Affairs Late General So Hutut. Photograph: Thet Aung / AFP / Getty Images

The shareholder report lists high-ranking officials, such as the current commander-in-chief, senior general Min Aung Hling, and the commander-in-chief (army), vice-senior general So Win, as shareholders. The United Nations confirmed in 2019 that these two individuals were part of a “patron group” overseeing the MEHL, Amnesty says. The United Nations has called for Min Aung Hlang, who will oversee military action against the Rohingya minority in 2017, to be prosecuted for genocide and crimes against humanity and for war crimes.

Corporate crime investigator and report writer Montsey Ferrer said she was surprised that entire military units were involved. “What is so shocking is that shareholders include many military units, including frontline combat battalions and divisions in war crimes and other human rights violations. MEHL pays regular dividends to these units. Then how they use the money, we don’t know, but since it is going to military units – not just a commander or general – these payments are likely operating costs. ”

Amnesty based its findings on two documents. This is the first filing filed by MEHL with Myanmar’s Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA) in January this year, stating that there are 381,636 individual shareholders owned by MEHL, all serving or retired military personnel, and 1,803 “. Institutional “shareholders. , Consisting of “regional orders, divisions, battalions, soldiers, combat veteran organizations”.

The second document is a copy of a confidential MEHL shareholder report from fiscal 2010–11. Along with providing information about the identity of shareholders of MEHL, it is a document of annual dividend payments that shareholders received between 1990 and 2011.

The shareholder report was shared by Amnesty with Amnesty for Justice, an active group that campaigns for justice and accountability for the people of Myanmar.

Stakeholders included battalions, which Amnesty linked to crimes against humanity against the Rohingya in Rakhine State, as well as war crimes in Kachin and Northern Shan State, the report said.

An illuminated sign for Myanmar Beer, manufactured by Myanmar Brewery Limited, owned by MEHL in Yangon.

An illuminated sign for Myanmar Beer, manufactured by Myanmar Brewery Ltd., owned by MEHL, in Yangon Photograph: Bloomberg / Bloomberg via Getty Images.

Most of MYHL’s subsidiaries operate in Myanmar alone, Amnesty says. But the investigation has drawn attention to joint ventures with two companies – Kirin and South Korean steel giant Pasco, which provide steel for the car, construction and shipbuilding industries – about their products Is consumed globally.

In response to Amnesty, Kirin said:[A]Head of the decision to invest in Myanmar, MEHL assured Kirin that it works as a pension fund for military personnel and is not involved in any military activity. It was on this basis that Kirin agreed to enter into joint ventures, and as a safeguard, we included a condition in the joint venture agreement that none of the proceeds from the joint venture business would be used for military purposes .

“[W]E maintains Deloitte to assess the financial and governance structures of MEHL to ascertain whether income from a joint venture with MEHL has been used for military purposes and to ensure that The review is completely independent, and follows international trade and human rights standards. . ”

In a statement by Amnesty, Posco said that it took the concerns raised in the report very seriously.

“To ensure that there is no previous dividend payment [have] Used for purposes that are contrary to human rights protection in Myanmar, we made a formal written request to MEHL to confirm that dividend payments in the past were used for MEHL’s core business purposes and We are currently awaiting the official response of MEHL. ”

Amnesty is calling on the government to disband the MHL and convert it into a state or citizen-owned entity.