Steps we all can take to help Myanmar

For many people, especially in the United States and Europe, Myanmar may feel like a very far away place. You may ask yourself, A lot!

Last week, people all around the United States signed petitions, took to the street to protest and spent time communicating with their reps in Congress and with President Joe Biden. These actions were successful! The U.S. announced that it will impose sanctions on the Burmese military. If you need proof that you can make a difference, that is it!

While this is an important victory, it is not the end of the struggle for the people of Myanmar and the Rohingya. We need to show our support for the people who are protesting the recent military coup in Myanmar. Here are some things we all can do:

1. Cut off the Myanmar military’s sources of revenue. Thanks to pressure put on Kirin Beer, they have ended their relationship with the Burmese military. Please sign and share this petition to demand Chevron stop bankrolling that military.

To put this in perspective, the military in Myanmar brings in nearly one billion dollars every year from the sale of natural gas. This doesn’t all come from Chevron but Total in France, Woodbridge in Australia, Petronas in Malaysia and CNOOC in China all are complicit here. Chevron remains the largest American investor in Myanmar. Keep in mind, these companies work with the Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), which is owned and operated by the Myanmar government and is linked to the military there.

2. Keep the Myanmar military from profiting from #GenocideGems. One company that buys its gems from Myanmar is Harry Winston, a luxury jewelry company owned by Swatch. Sign and share this petition to demand they stop making money from #GenocideGems. Over the course of the last few decades, the military in Myanmar has committed a large number of atrocities against the Rohingya, Karen, Kachin and Shan minorities. They have gang-raped women and girls, burned down whole villages and killed anyone who dared to resist them. If we work together, we can stop the influx of money from the trade of Burmese gems.

At least 90 percent of the jade and rubies produced on the planet come from Myanmar. They fetch the highest prices internationally. It is no secret that this industry is dominated by the military in Myanmar. When companies, like Harry Winston/Swatch, buy gems from Myanmar, they are directly subsidizing the military and pa3. ying for these war crimes.

3. Consider donating to groups like the International Campaign for the Rohingya. Working with people all over the world, this organization has influenced governments. It has also gotten companies such as Kirin Beer, Angara (another jewelry company) and Western Union to stop doing business with the Burmese military.

Your actions have moved your governments to pass tough sanctions and successfully pressed companies, such as Western Union, online jeweler Angara, and Kirin brewery, to end their business partnerships with the Burmese military. You can donate by going here.

To learn more:

Subscribe to Frontier Myanmar’s excellent daily coverage from inside the country.

How Oil and Gas Majors Bankroll the Myanmar Military Regime,” Justice For Myanmar, 8 February 2021

“Stakeholders press energy companies doing business with Myanmar to address Rohingya crisis,” International Campaign for the Rohingya blog, October 23, 2017

Will Myanmar’s ‘Genocide Gems’ Become the New Blood Diamonds?,” BusinessWeek, October 17, 2018

“No Genocide Gems! Burmese Military Takes a Hit From Citizens Sanctions,” International Campaign for the Rohingya blog

Sanction Myanmar Military, Not Myanmar People,” Justice For Myanmar and Burma Campaign UK, 5 February 2021

Who Profits From a Coup? The Power and Greed of Senior General Min Aung Hlaing,” Justice For Myanmar, January 2021

“Dirty List” of companies doing business with the Myanmar military, Burma Campaign UK

Military Ltd,” Amnesty International, September 2020

I am a sports and news junkie, writer and comedian. I also spent at least one lifetime working in politics and campaigns.

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