The troubled panorama in Myanmar is affecting the Kirin Brewery and the Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited (MEHL) group. They both own the Myanmar Brewery. The MEHL is a powerful conglomerate of the regular army.
The civil society organization Justice for Myanmar claims that the Myanmar Brewery allows the regular army – the Tatmadaw – “to continue committing crimes against ethnic minorities. This ruling is only binding on CSOs. No official ruling has been made on the nature of certain abuses committed by the Burmese military in ethnic areas. In any case, this violence was denounced in August 2019 in a United Nations (UN) report on the army’s economic interests.
Kirin says she takes the UN and NGO Burma Campaign UK reports “very seriously”. Following the publication of the UN report, the Japanese group pledged to “identify, prevent and reduce” any human rights violations and abuses. Thus, Kirin has been requesting certain financial documents from the MEHL since February 2020. In vain.
Kirin seeks to determine the destination of the funds
The brewer, who seems not to trust the UN, asked the consulting firm Deloitte in June to “determine the destination of the funds”. In this way, he ensures that he does not finance questionable military operations. At the same time, on June 3, 2020, the Japanese company presented a notification to the Department of Investment and Corporate Administration (DICA) to amend its statutes. The notice should have been made public, but it was not, and three months later, nothing has been done.
Foreign companies are subject to additional taxes. Therefore, it seems unlikely that another arrangement would be more advantageous for the Japanese group. While it is clear that “genocide is clearly bad for business”. So said the director of the International Campaign for the Rohingya.
The director of the UK’s Burma Campaign predicts “a desperate attempt by Kirin to find a way to continue its business with the military. Eighty percent of the beer sold in Burma is produced by the Myanmar Brewery and Mandalay Brewery. The latter is also run by MEHL and Kirin.
Following the UN report, several companies cut their ties with military conglomerates. Among them Esprit, which produced part of its clothing in a factory linked to the Tatmadaw.
Don’t drink and drive. Enjoy responsibly.