When will Secretary Blinken recognize the genocide in Myanmar?

Antony Blinken

Let’s hold the Myanmar military accountable.

Last week, we joined over 90 organizations calling on U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to publicly determine that Myanmar has committed genocide and crimes against humanity against the Rohingya people. This is a crucial initiative to hold the Myanmar military accountable for its atrocities throughout the country.

Lead sponsored by Senator Ben Cardin and Rep. Gregory Meeks, the new Burma bill to be introduced shortly in Congress will, not only hold accountable the Myanmar military for its mass atrocities, but also to provide much needed humanitarian assistance directly to the Myanmar people. Now, let’s make the final push to get this bill introduced!

Even if you’ve sent a message before, click here today to urge your Members of Congress to co-sponsor the new Burma bill.

This Wednesday, we will mark the fourth anniversary of the Myanmar military’s worst crackdown on the Rohingya, a campaign that killed thousands and forced hundreds of thousands of Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh. It’s long past time for Secretary of State Antony Blinken to declare that the Rohingya are genocide victims.

Such a designation by the U.S. government will underpin the case for further US sanctions on the Myanmar military junta and assistance to Burmese civil society organizations. It would also improve the prospect for growing US recognition of the democratic and multi-ethnic National Unity Government of Myanmar.

Click here to join the thousands signing our petition to Secretary Blinken calling on him to recognize the Myanmar military’s genocide of the Rohingya.

We need your help to keep up our important work. Learn more about how you can help us here.

Cut off the Myanmar military’s gem money

Myanmar produces more than 90% of the world’s rubies and jade, and these stones command the highest prices on the international market. Because it dominates Burma’s gemstone industry, the Myanmar military profits when high-end jewelry retailers – like Harry Winston (owned by Swatch) – buy Burmese gems for their collections.

Today, let’s take three actions to hold Harry Winston – and its owner Swatch – to account,.

Action #1: Share our petition to Harry Winston

Since you’ve already signed our petition to Harry Winston, please share the petition with your friends and family. Use this short link: https://bit.ly/HarryWinston_NoGenocideGems

Action #2: Post on the social media of Harry Winston and Swatch

In addition to signing the petition, follow up by posting messages on the companies’ social media accounts.

Copy the message below and adapt it as you wish. Add it as a comment on posts showcasing jewelry or watches on the Facebook and Instagram pages of Harry Winston and Swatch.

I refuse to buy your brands while Harry Winston (owned by Swatch) buys #GenocideGems from Myanmar that profit the Burmese military and its atrocities against the peoples of Myanmar.

Read the truth about Harry Winston here. https://bit.ly/HarryWinston_NoGenocideGems

Use the links below to the jeweler’s social media.

Harry Winston’s Facebook

Harry Winston’s Instagram

Swatch’s Facebook

Swatch’s Instagram

Don’t neglect to post similar comments on the companies’ LinkedIn page. Join us in telling the companies on their job postings why you would never work for a company that supports the Myanmar military.

Harry Winston’s LinkedIn

Swatch’s LinkedIn

Action #3: Make an appointment to protest at your local Harry Winston store

In addition to signing the petition, would you follow up by visiting one of Harry Winston’s stores?

Click on this link to make an appointment at one of Harry Winston’s swanky stores. If you can turn up for the appointment, ask to see the jewelry with rubies. Then explain to the store manager why you would never buy from Harry Winston as long as it buys gems that profit the Myanmar military.

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.

Together, we can build our movement to end the Myanmar military’s corrupt and brutal rule.

Tell Secretary Blinken to recognize the genocide in Myanmar

Let’s hold the Myanmar military accountable.

Last week, we joined over 90 organizations calling on U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to publicly determine that Myanmar has committed genocide and crimes against humanity against the Rohingya people. This is a crucial initiative to hold the Myanmar military accountable for its atrocities throughout the country.

Lead sponsored by Senator Ben Cardin and Rep. Gregory Meeks, the new Burma bill to be introduced shortly in Congress will, not only hold accountable the Myanmar military for its mass atrocities but also to provide much-needed humanitarian assistance directly to the Myanmar people. Now, let’s make the final push to get this bill introduced!

Even if you’ve sent a message before, click here today to urge your Members of Congress to co-sponsor the new Burma bill.

Later this month, we will mark the fourth anniversary of the Myanmar military’s worst crackdown on the Rohingya, a campaign that killed thousands and forced hundreds of thousands of Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh. It’s long past time for Secretary of State Antony Blinken to declare that the Rohingya are genocide victims.

Such a designation by the U.S. government will underpin the case for further US sanctions on the Myanmar military junta and assistance to Burmese civil society organizations. It would also improve the prospect for growing US recognition of the democratic and multi-ethnic National Unity Government of Myanmar.

Click here to join the thousands signing our petition to Secretary Blinken calling on him to recognize the Myanmar military’s genocide of the Rohingya.

Just one email or phone call from a constituent can make a difference. Your Members of Congress need to know that you want Congress to act. The people of Myanmar can’t wait any longer.

Our challenge for the fall

Six short months ago, we witnessed the Myanmar military depose the civilian government in a coup d’etat. Using the same tactics that it used against the Rohingya and other ethnic minorities, the Burmese army has brutally cracked down on the new, young, and multi-ethnic Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM).

In response, we immediately swung into action. Just hours after the military coup, we launched petitions to the Biden Administration and Congress to impose tough and targeted sanctions on the military and support the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM). We threw everything we had into building on our campaigns to end the Myanmar military’s genocide of the Rohingya and launch our broader Campaign for a New Myanmar.Click here to make a gift. Your support will us raise together the $50,000 we need to sustain our crucial advocacy work through year-end.
When the Myanmar people most needed help, you stepped up. Your collective voices have had a significant impact.

  • You put effective pressure on the White House. Since the coup, the U.S. Administration has been the leader worldwide in imposing further tough and targeted sanctions on the military and its business interests.
  • Congress heeds your voice. Thanks to thousands of your emails, phone calls, and meetings, Congress will soon introduce a comprehensive new “Burma bill” supporting the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) and further holding the military to account.
  • Your campaign of “citizen sanctions” forced companies to end partnerships with the Myanmar military. You successfully pressed Cartier, Western Union, and Kirin to end their business partnerships with the Myanmar military.Because of your pressure, oil giants Chevron and Total have suspended a portion of their payments to the military-controlled Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise.

This fall, let’s dig deep to support our work to hold the Myanmar military to account.
Your gift is crucial this fall as we further build our grassroots movement to end the atrocities and the repression of the Burmese army. Your support will fund our campaigns to:

  • lobby governments worldwide to impose sanctions on Burma’s generals and their business empire;
  • put consumer, shareholder, and media pressure on corporations – such as Facebook, Cloudflare, and Chevron – to end their business partnerships with Burma’s army;
  • organize students and faculty to press their campus to step up and join the movement to end genocide in Burma and throughout the world;
  • promote “end genocide” bills in cities and states globally.

Please make a gift of $30, $60, or $120 to help sustain and expand our vital work.

Talking to Your Treasurer About Genocide

How can you make your university take action to end genocide?

One way would be to press your university to use the power of its investments.

Educational institutions invest trillions of dollars, primarily through their endowments. As shareholders, universities are partial owners of thousands of publicly traded companies. Through those ownership stakes, unviersities can put pressure on corporations to stop doing business with governments engaged in genocide. This kind of shareholder activism can be more powerful than selling – or divesting – stock in companies.

Does your university own stock in Chevron? It likely does because Chevron is a very widely held company. For two years, shareholders of Chevron have filed a shareholder resolution putting pressure on the oil company, the largest U.S. investor in Burma (Myanmar), to adopt a policy of not doing business with government engaged in genocide or crimes against humanity. In 2017, that resolution received the votes of approximately 6% of shareholders at Chevron’s annual shareholder meeting. Since then, it is reported that Chevron has raised issues of human rights with the Burmese government.

International Campaign for the Rohingya is working with shareholders owning over $50 billion in assets to put pressure on all of the oil companies in Burma. This shareholder group has also pressed major jewelry retailers not to buy gems that profit the Burmese army.

How can you successfully press your university to join the growing number of shareholders taking action to end genocide? You can start by asking your university treasurer some key questions.

  • What stocks does the university own? Does it own Chevron?

Many educational institutions, especially public universities, make public their stock holdings. Many others will simply provide that information on request. Some will only reveal their holdings after feeling pressure from a campaign asking for disclosure.

Zero in on your university’s direct holdings of shares. Those are shares that your university owns outright and can vote in favor of shareholder resolutions such as the one at Chevron.

  • Does the university have a policy guiding how it votes its shares?

Some universities have developed a policy guiding how they vote their shares on resolutions raising environmental, social, and governances (ESG) issues. Ask for a copy of the current policy and request that it include a provision that the university vote in favor of resolutions asking companies to adopt a policy of not doing business with governments engaged in genocide or crimes against humanity.

  • How has the university voted its shares in the past?

Some universities publish a report showing how they voted on each shareholder resolution. Whether this is public or not, find out whether your university held Chevron stock in 2017 and, if so, how it voted those shares on the resolution pressing the company to adopt a policy of not doing business with governments engaged in genocide or crimes against humanity.

  • Does the university work with other shareholders to promote corporate responsibility?

Some universities are members of US SIF – The Forum for Sustainable and Reponsible Investment, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, the Principles for Responsible Investment, or the Council of Institutional Investors. If your university is a member, ask what help and resources they are receiving to address issues concerning ending genocide.

  • Would the university adopt a formal policy of using its investments to help end genocide?

Ask your university to join the growing “No Business With Genocide” campaign. International Campaign for the Rohingya is working with a growing coalition of investors and NGOs. We are ready to work with you and your university to develop policies and practices that help end the genocide of the Rohingya.

  • How can students and faculty influence the university’s investment policies and practices?

Some universities, such as Harvard, have an advisory committee on shareholder responsibility that helps develop policies and practices. Ask to participate.

If your university lacks such an avenue to influence its investments, launch a campaign to pass a resolution in your student government, faculty council, and/or board of trustees. Develop petitions and hold rallies. Meet with your university administration. Use every pressure point to persuade your university to step up and help end genocide.

The Responsible Endowments Coalition publishes how-to guides  for students and faculty on university endowmentsdivestment, and shareholder advocacy. Read them to prepare yourselves on how to best influence your university to help end genocide.