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Human Rights and Business in Myanmar

Assessing the human rights impact of doing business in Myanmar
Join our panel discussion to understand the impact of Myanmar's political crisis on the country's economy, and what role the international business community and trade unions can play to protect human and labour rights.

When: Wednesday 30 November 2022 from 6:00–7:00pm AEDT
Where: Online via Zoom

After the 2021 military coup, international businesses in Myanmar have been under pressure to show they are not merely continuing ‘business as usual’ but are acting responsibly in the context of escalating violations of human and labour rights, degraded employment conditions, and potential complicity in rights abuses because of revenue flows to the military regime government or dealings with military-controlled businesses.

In this panel discussion, our experts and advocates will explain the impact of the coup on rights and business governance in three crucial sectors of the Myanmar economy: garment manufacturing; mining; and oil and gas. They will also consider whether international and national trade unions and NGOs have had an impact on business decision making and international sanctions policies and what further steps should be taken in each sector.

 

About the speakers

Khaing Zar Aung is president of the Industrial Workers Federation of Myanmar (IWFM) and a central executive committee member of the Confederation of Trade Unions of Myanmar (CTUM). Having started as a garment worker at the age of 16, she joined the political movement against the previous military dictatorship led by the then Federation of Trade Unions of Burma (FTUB) in exile in 2007. After she was able to return to Myanmar in 2012, she was a key force in helping to grow the free and democratic union movement. After the military coup in Myanmar in 2021, Khaing Zar has been an international advocate representing trade unions (CTUM/IWFM) and the Myanmar Labour Alliance.

Michael Gillan is an Associate Professor of Employment relations, Department of Management and Organisations, UWA Business School, at the University of Western Australia. His current research interests encompass global union federations; transnational labour regulation; and state governance and labour movements in Asia. He is engaged in a multi-year Australian Research Council Discovery Grant project on Global Production Networks and worker representation in Myanmar. He is the former President of the South Asian Studies Association of Australia (SASAA).

Ben Hardman is the Myanmar Policy and Legal Advisor at EarthRights International. He has worked with EarthRights International since 2016 and was based in Myanmar until 2020. His work there focused on issues around corporate accountability, primarily supporting communities affected by extractive projects and land rights abuses. EarthRights has worked on human rights abuses linked to Myanmar's gas projects since the 1990s and has re-focused on this work since the coup began in 2021. This work has highlighted the role of TotalEnergies and Chevron in spreading disinformation that sought to justify their role in ensuring that gas revenues reached the military while also deterring sanctions. Prior to EarthRights, Ben worked as a solicitor at an international law firm on international trade and insurance disputes.

Clancy Moore is Chief Executive Officer of Transparency International Australia. Clancy brings over 15 years of advocacy and international development experience in the Solomon Islands, Myanmar, and Australia, including leadership roles with Oxfam, ActionAid and previously led the Australian arm of the global anti-corruption coalition, Publish What You Pay calling for greater transparency in the mining, oil and gas sectors. He lived in Myanmar from 2014 to 2017 and supports Myanmar’s diaspora with advocacy and human rights training. He lectures at several Australian universities and appears regularly in the media. Follow him on Twitter: @ClancyMoore or @TIAustralia

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