The Japanese brewing company Kirin today announced that it has suspended all dividend payments to Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited (MEHL), Kirin’s business partner in two joint ventures in Myanmar. It follows research by Amnesty International which exposed how profits from Myanmar Brewery Limited and Mandalay Brewery Limited, jointly owned by Kirin and MEHL, were provided to MEHL, whose shareholders include military units responsible for crimes under international law.
Montse Ferrer, Researcher on Business and Human Rights at Amnesty International, said:
“This is an important step by Kirin, and shows it is taking its human rights responsibilities in Myanmar seriously. We have repeatedly documented the business links between MEHL and military units directly involved in atrocity crimes against the Rohingya and other minorities in Rakhine, Kachin and northern Shan States. Any company partnering with MEHL risks complicity in these horrors, and we therefore welcome the measures Kirin has taken.
“However, suspending payments is not enough. MEHL has shown no willingness to meaningfully engage with its business partners or reform its structure, which makes proper human rights due diligence impossible. Kirin has appointed Deloitte to investigate the destination of the profits from its Myanmar operations, which should lead it to a decision to responsibly end all business ties with MEHL.”