It’s now Day 11 of the 2/1/21 Myanmar coup.
Thank you for – in your thousands! – signing our petitions, turning up for protests, contacting your elected representatives, and, all the while, sharing everything you do on social media. Because of your actions, US President Joe Biden announced yesterday that the US will impose sanctions on the Myanmar military.
Please take a moment to savor your significant victory. You are an important part of a growing global movement of people just like you. Let’s continue to do all that we can to help the young people of Myanmar as they face down the military in the streets.
We are still a trigger-point away from Burmese soldiers brutally cracking down on the pro-democracy demonstrators. In 1988, and again in 2007, the Myanmar military fired on peaceful protestors killing thousands. Thus far it appears our acts of solidarity are helping; the Myanmar security forces have been relatively restrained.
Today, let’s all take three actions to follow the Myanmar military’s money and cut it off.
Action #1: Stop the flow of oil and gas money to the military
We join Justice For Myanmar in calling for all corporations to immediately stop bankrolling the Myanmar military. The people of Myanmar have mobilized against the dictatorship through a national campaign of civil disobedience and boycotts against military-owned companies. We must back up the peoples of Myanmar in their struggle.
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, the site of the Rohingya genocide.
Action #2: End the Myanmar military’s trade in #GenocideGems
For decades, Myanmar’s military has committed numerous war crimes against ethnic minorities in Burma including the Karen, Shan, and Kachin. The military has systematically burned down villages, gang-raped women and girls, and killed those who resist. Moreover, Myanmar now stands at the International Court of Justice on charges of genocide against the Rohingya. Together, we can demand that Jewellery retailers, such as Harry Winston, stop buying Burmese gems that help fund the military’s atrocities against the peoples of Myanmar.
Myanmar produces more than 90% of the world’s rubies and jade, and these stones command the highest prices on the international market. The military dominates the gemstone industry in Myanmar. Its extensive commercial interests in gemstone extraction and trade mean that the military profits when high-end jewelry retailers – like Harry Winston (owned by Swatch) – buy Burmese gems for their collections.
Action #3. Make a gift to build our movement
We can and must build our pressure on Myanmar’s military. Your actions have moved your governments to pass tough sanctions and successfully pressed companies, such as Western Union, online jeweler Angara, and Kirin brewery, to end their business partnerships with the Burmese military.
Your gifts will help us keep building the campaigns and tools that we need to take effective action together. Please click here to make a gift of $30, $60, $120, $250, or more.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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Harry Winston item featuring Burmese gems
“A 20.25 carat oval-shaped Burmese ruby center stone with 28 round brilliant diamonds weighing a total of approximately 4.64 carats, set in platinum.”
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
“Will Myanmar’s ‘Genocide Gems’ Become the New Blood Diamonds?,” BusinessWeek, October 17, 2018
“No Genocide Gems! Burmese Military Takes a Hit From Citizens Sanctions,” International Campaign for the Rohingya blog
“Sanction Myanmar Military, Not Myanmar People,” Justice For Myanmar and Burma Campaign UK, 5 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