Canada warns companies to tread carefully in Myanmar

- Military coup topples democracy in embattled country

Barry Ellsworth   | 14.04.2021
Canada warns companies to tread carefully in Myanmar


The government of Canada issued a warning Tuesday to Canadian companies that they are to respect sanctions, export controls and ensure “high standards of human rights” when dealing with Myanmar firms. 

The warning comes as a result of the Feb. 1 military coup that deposed Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and members of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party after she and the party won a general election by a landslide. The military said there was widespread election fraud, a claim that has been rejected by an internal election commission and many countries.

Hundreds of people have been killed protesting the takeover.

Canada joined with the UK and the US in sanctioning nine Myanmar military officials.

To date, Canada has sanctioned a total of 54 individuals and 44 entities (companies).

“I am deeply disturbed by the increasing deadly violence against protestors; the crackdown on freedom of expression, including through the Internet blackout and draconian changes to the law that repress free speech; and the continuing arbitrary detention of innocent civilians in Myanmar,” Canada’s Foreign Minister Marc Garneau said in a statement obtained by Anadolu Agency. “Canada stands with the people of Myanmar and their quest to restore democracy.”

He said Canadian companies should act under the same guiding rules when dealing with Myanmar entities as they do when doing business at home.

“The Government of Canada expects Canadian companies active abroad, in any market or country, to respect human rights, operate lawfully, conduct their activities in a responsible manner and adopt voluntary best practices and internationally respected guidelines,” the Global Affairs statement said.

In addition, the statement said that Canadian companies that have operations in Myanmar should “assess their operations, take any appropriate action to comply with Canadian sanctions measures and export controls, and uphold high standards of human rights and responsible business conduct.”

UN High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet said in a statement Tuesday, as reported by Al Jazeera, that 3,080 people have been detained and 23 have received death sentences during secret trials and she worried that the conflict could lead to a situation like the deadly and prolonged conflict in Syria.

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