The International Campaign for the Rohingya (IRC) has called for a boycott of Kirin Group over its links with the military in Myanmar (Burma). IRC says the company is “legitimizing the military and providing them with profits as they face accusations of genocide in the UN’s top court.”
Kirin Group is a Japanese conglomerate, specialising in food, drink and healthcare products. It operates a brewery company as a joint venture with the Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings, a company controlled by, and for the benefit of, the Burmese military, which carried out an ethnic cleansing campaign against the Rohingya in 2017.
The Japanese multinational also admitted that its subsidiary made donations totalling USD $30,000 to the military and authorities during the ethnic cleansing. The first donation was made to the military’s Commander-in-Chief during a televised ceremony, in which he said it would be used in part to fund “security personnel and state service personnel”.
Seema Joshi, Head of Business and Human Rights at Amnesty International stated,
“It beggars belief that any international investor would make donations to Myanmar’s military, at a time when those very forces were carrying out ethnic cleansing.”
Kirin owns Fourpure Brewing Company in the UK, as well as a 24% stake in Brooklyn Breweries, owner of Brooklyn Lager. Its Kirin Ichiban beers are also sold in the UK.
The company appears on the Burma Campaign’s ‘Dirty List’, which names international corporations doing business with the military or involved in projects linked to human rights violations or environmental destruction in the country. Apple, Google, Facebook, Huawei and Toshiba also feature on the list.