The ICJ comments on Reporting Requirements for Responsible Investment in Burma

Issue: Business and Human Rights
Document Type: Open Letter
Date: 2016

The US Department of State has requested for the submission of public comments on the Responsible Investment Reporting Requirements for Burma.

The ICJ has urged caution over the United State’s recent decision to allow for an exception to the sanctions regime for people who have already been documented as having links to the military regime and implicated in human rights violations.

This caution reflects the ICJ’s work with the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration, the Attorney General’s Office, and the Union Supreme Court of Myanmar, as well as civil society organizations, to strengthen and support local efforts at ensuring that investment protects and promotes the rule of law, human rights and the environment.

In this regard, the ICJ has visited and researched on the human rights and environmental impacts of investments in the 3 Special Economic Zones (photo), as well as other non-SEZ sites, in the country.

The ICJ submits that future reporting must be strengthened to ensure that U.S. companies comply with the Reporting Requirements, conduct due diligence and disclose adequate information transparently about the impact of their business practices on human rights in Myanmar.

This is especially crucial in light of significant reporting gaps in July 2013.

Failure to strengthen the requirements will undermine the goal of the Reporting Requirement to be a tool for promoting investment that reinforces those political and economic reforms that are compliant with the rule of law and human rights and help to empower civil society.

Myanmar’s historic transition process is significantly influenced by economic development in the country.

In order for business activity to help protect and promote human rights for people in Myanmar, it is essential to demand more robust due diligence standards, including human rights and environmental standards, greater clarity on investors’ due diligence on land rights, as well as increased transparency on “passive” investments.

The U.S. Treasury Department’s list of individuals and businesses banned from having financial or business links to the U.S. must be urgently revised to provide updated and clear information to help potential investors entering Myanmar avoid commercial ventures with those involved in human rights abuses and corruption.

Myanmar-ICJ Letter to US State Dept-Advocacy-Open Letters-2016-ENG (Full text in PDF)

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