It’s now Day 9 of the 2/1/21 Myanmar coup.
When I woke this morning, I heard on NPR that the Myanmar military has started firing rubber bullets at protesters. We are a trigger-point away from Burmese soldiers brutally cracking down on the pro-democracy demonstrators. In 1988, and again in 2007, the Myanmar army fired on peaceful protestors killing thousands.
After that NPR news report, there was a message from NPR’s sponsor: Chevron. Chevron is the largest U.S. investor in Myanmar, providing billions in revenue for the Burmese regime. Moroever, Chevron’s operations have been found complicit in serious human rights violations in Karen State.
As Myanmar’s generals look for revenues to prop up their new dictatorship following the February 1 coup, there’s one source of money they can count on: natural gas projects backed by foreign investors including Chevron, France’s Total, South Korea’s Posco, China’s CNOOC, Australia’s Woodbridge, and Malaysia’s Petronas. The Myanmar regime earns close to US$1 billion a year from natural gas sales.
Much of this money is not paid directly from oil companies to the government. It flows through Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), a state-owned enterprise with deep links to the military’s business empire. Alarmingly, the recent military coup places MOGE and the rest of the government under direct military control.
Chevron is the largest U.S. corporate investor in Burma (Myanmar). In partnership with Total of France and the Burmese government-owned Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), Chevron owns the Yadana gas field and pipeline crossing Karen State. In March 2015, Chevron entered into an additional production sharing contract with MOGE to explore in the Rakhine Basin off the coast of Rakhine State.
We join Justice For Myanmar in calling for all businesses with commercial ties to MOGE to immediately stop bankrolling the Myanmar military. The people of Myanmar have mobilised against dictatorship through a national campaign of civil disobedience and boycotts against military-owned products. Even MOGE’s own staff are publicly protesting. We must back up the peoples of Myanmar in their struggle against the Myanmar military dictators.
Pressure on Chevron works. In 2017, after pressure from activist investors led by Azzad Asset Management, Chevron told the BBC that it would work for “a business environment that respects human rights”. But we need now to pressure Chevron until it stops bankrolling the Myanmar military.
Together, we can build our movement to end the Myanmar military’s corrupt and brutal rule.
Thank you so much,
Simon Billenness, Executive Director
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For Further Reading:
“How Oil and Gas Majors Bankroll the Myanmar Military Regime,” Justice For Myanmar, 8 February 2021
“Stakeholders press energy companies doing business with Myanmar to address Rohingya crisis,” International Campaign for the Rohingya blog, October 23, 2017
“Chevron says it will push for Myanmar human rights,” BBC World Service, November 16, 2017
“Sanction Myanmar Military, Not Myanmar People,” Justice For Myanmar and Burma Campaign UK, 5 February 2021
“Myanmar Military Should End Its Use of Violence and Respect Democracy,” Joint statement of Myanmar civil society organizations, 1 February 2021
“Who Profits From a Coup? The Power and Greed of Senior General Min Aung Hlaing,” Justice For Myanmar, January 2021
“Dirty List” of companies doing business with the Myanmar military, Burma Campaign UK
“Military Ltd,” Amnesty International, September 2020
Justice for Myanmar – Justice For Myanmar is a campaign to provide a platform for those unjustly persecuted by the Myanmar military – regardless of class, religion, gender or ethnic identity in their efforts to seek justice and end military impunity in Myanmar. The campaign works to expose the Myanmar military’s businesses’ link to human rights violations across the country.