Friends Fiduciary, along with other investors, sent letters to energy companies with operations in Myanmar/Burma to leverage their relationship with the government-controlled Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise and address the current Rohingya crisis. Reports have the Burmese army targeting the Muslim Rohingya, a historically persecuted ethnic minority in Myanmar, resulting in over 620,000 refugees fleeing the country because of extrajudicial killings, rape, and arson. These actions have now been called ethnic cleansing by the U.S. government.
The letters from investors asked the companies to push the Myanmar government to implement the course of action outlined in the Annan Commission (headed by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan), which recommends the Myanmar government immediately rescind discriminatory restrictions on the Rohingya in Rakhine state and cease violence against the group. The letters also ask companies to consider a policy of “not doing business with governments complicit in genocide.”
Although Friends Fiduciary does not hold the oil companies to whom the letters were sent, we thought it important to voice our support and concern as investors who consider these issues when making investments. Chevron recently came out with a statement saying that it “would work for ‘a business environment that respects human rights’” and will continue dialogue with their stakeholders on this important issue.