August 24, 2020, Myanmar: On the third anniversary of the Myanmar military’s campaign of genocide against the Rohingya, Justice For Myanmar calls for a criminal investigation of crony conglomerates KBZ Group and Max Myanmar under international law. Both have built up a network of international business partners, who have an obligation under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights to support justice and remedy for victims and survivors of the genocide.
KBZ and Max Myanmar’s business partners must act immediately to ensure justice and accountability for the victims and survivors. So far, they are failing to meet their human rights due diligence obligations. These business partners include major corporations from the USA, EU, UK, Switzerland and Japan, such as Royal Dutch Shell, AIA, Accor, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Hughes Network Systems and Kempinski AG.
Justice For Myanmar spokesperson Yadanar Maung says: “The Myanmar military carried out their “clearance operations” against the Rohingya with the support of military and crony businesses. Financing international crimes is a crime itself and these businesses must be held to account. International partners of Max Myanmar and KBZ are complicit in these crimes through their silence. They must act now.”
In September 2017, the Myanmar military held a series of fundraisers to collect donations from crony and military businesses, in support of their campaign of genocide against the Rohingya. Funds raised were used to support security forces in Rakhine State and for the construction of a border fence to prevent displaced Rohingya from returning to their homes. Among the largest donors were Myanmar’s biggest crony conglomerates, KBZ Group, donating US$2.47 million and Max Myanmar, donating US$976,857.
The Union Enterprise for Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement and Development (UEHRD), chaired by State Counsellor Daw Aung SanSuu Kyi, held additional fundraisers for the construction of the border fence. Major donors were again KBZ, donating US$2.2 million and Max Myanmar, donating US$654,000.
In August 2019, the United Nations Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar (UN FFM) investigated donations and concluded that “the Mission now has reasonable grounds to also conclude that officials from KBZ Group and Max Myanmar should be criminally investigated and, if appropriate, prosecuted for making a substantial and direct contribution to the commission of the crime against humanity of “other inhumane acts.””
The UN FFM recommendations have so far gone unheeded. Business partners of Max Myanmar and KBZ have due diligence obligations that requires them to act.
As part of those due diligence obligations, Justice For Myanmar calls on business partners of KBZ and Max Myanmar to:
1. Ensure that they do not do business with corporations that have or may have aided and abetted the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
2. Require KBZ and Max Myanmar to fully and publicly disclose all their business relationships with the Myanmar military, and all their donations to the Myanmar military and UEHRD. If KBZ and Max Myanmar fail to do so, cut all business ties with them.
3. Cut all ties with KBZ and Max Myanmar unless evidence establishes that they do not, currently or in the future, have any business relationships with the Myanmar military and that they have not made and do not, currently or in the future, make donations to the Myanmar military.
Yadanar Maung continues: “It is unacceptable that Max Myanmar and KBZ are continuing to operate with impunity. This is an outrage to all Rohingya, including the more than 800,000 survivors of genocide that are languishing in camps in Bangladesh, and those remaining in Myanmar who continue to be deprived of their basic rights, guarded by the very security forces that have perpetrated atrocities against them. The international community must make a concerted effort to ensure that the UN FFM’s recommendations are implemented and that all perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes against the Rohingya are held accountable.”
Note to editors
Justice For Myanmar is a group of covert activists campaigning for justice and accountability for the people of Myanmar. We are calling for an end to military business and for federal democracy and a sustainable peace.
For full details of the UN FFM’s investigation and recommendations regarding donations to genocide, see: The UN Fact-Finding Mission report: The Economic Interests of the Myanmar Military.
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