activists say the deals revealed in the new report are a corporate violation ???? Human rights responsibility
Human rights groups are calling on two of Britain’s largest banks to explain why they loaned tens of millions of pounds to a tech company building a telecommunications network partially owned by the Myanmar military.
HSBC and Standard Chartered have 60 million. USD (44 GBP) borrowed. 5m) to Vietnamese telecommunications giant Viettel over the past four years when the Myanmar military was accused of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. Viettel is a major investor in Mytel, a cellular network in Myanmar that has grown to become the country’s second largest operator with over 10 million users since its launch in June 2018.
Star High Co Ltd, a subsidiary of the military-run Myanmar Economic Corporation, is a state-owned company in Myanmar and has a 28% interest in the network. Viettel’s international telecommunications investment subsidiary Viettel Global JSC controls 49%; and Myanmar National Telecom Holdings, which represents a group of companies in Myanmar, owns 23%. The ownership structure, which confirms that Mytel is an important source of income for the Myanmar military, is disclosed in a report by the Justice For Myanmar (JFM) campaign group. .
The report, based on open source material and a wealth of documents created when a Viettel subsidiary inadvertently posted internal online files about the company’s operations in Myanmar, shows how Mytel is in the military Myanmar has upgraded the infrastructure of ????, including the Army’s fiber optic network.
The links between Mytel and the military are well established. Major General Thaw Lwin, Director of the Military Signals Directorate responsible for infrastructure, is the director of Mytel. A Viettel subsidiary is leading the construction of at least 38 Mytel network towers in military bases in Myanmar.
The report also claims that Viettel units under the Vietnamese Ministry of Defense are mining user data for analysis in Vietnam. It is alleged that the Myanmar military has access to the data, which opens up the possibility that it could be used for military purposes.
JFM has determined that HSBC $ 40 million. USD (29 GBP) has borrowed. 7 million. ) to Viettel Global JSC between 2016 and 2020, while Standard Chartered’s UK arm was just over 20 million. USD (14 GBP) loaned. 8m) in the same period.
Viettel Global accounts show that more than half of the investments this year and almost half last year went to Mytel. « The report describes very well Mytel’s position with regard to the Myanmar military and Viettel’s position with regard to Mytel. « said Christopher Sidoti, a former member of the UN Human Rights Council’s independent international intelligence mission in Myanmar.
???? The facts show that Mytel plays an important role in the military and that Viettel makes Mytel possible. â ????
JFM Says Companies With Interests In Myanmar ???? formerly Burma â ???? have the responsibility according to the human rights principles of the United Nations and the guidelines of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development to comply with international standards for human rights. It is also questioned whether HSBC and Standard Chartered may be violating EU restrictive measures in relation to Myanmar.
« The report reflects where the money trail is headed, » Sidoti said. Among other things, it leads to HSBC and Standard Chartered. The report does so very carefully and conservatively, and does not claim that HSBC and Standard Chartered are responsible for the prosecution of crimes under international law or that they directly support and facilitate the commission of such crimes. Rather, the report puts these companies in a third category of companies that have committed human rights abuses due to due diligence that they have violated. I agree. â ????
Yadanar Maung, a spokesman for JFM, said, “HSBC and Standard Chartered should be transparent about how they monitor and prevent their loans to fund human rights abuses. â ????
HSBC said, “HSBC complies with sanctions, laws and regulations in all jurisdictions in which we operate and strongly supports compliance with international human rights principles that apply to businesses. We do not comment on customer relationships, not even to confirm or deny that a relationship exists. a???? Standard Chartered declined to comment.
The observer made detailed allegations against a Viettel spokesman regarding his relationship with Mytel, the Myanmar government, its military, HSBC and Standard Chartered. The company did not respond to requests for comment.
Myanmar (Burma), Finance, United Kingdom
World news – AU – British banks under pressure over 45 million loans. GBP to companies with ties to the Myanmar military
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