Korean Civil Society in Support of Myanmar Democracy conducted a webinar on November 4 on the Korean companies’ roles in the post-coup Myanmar from human rights perspectives:
Surya Deva, Chairperson of UN Working Groups on Business and Human Rights started the discussion identifying the three important international “soft law” documents that concern corporate responsibilities for democracy: UN Business and Human Rights Guideline, OECD Guidelines for Multinational Companies, and ILO Guildelines. According to him, these guidelines can be reduced to the following three specific duties of the companies: (1) establishing human rights policies; (2) conducting human rights due diligence, and (3) implementing remedies for adverse human rights impacts. France and Germany actually passed a law mandating such human rights due diligence.
Many companies operating in Myanmar are in a withdrawal dilemma: Will they do good by leaving much resources with Tatmadaw to use (the question of Responsible Exit, i.e. choosing the buyer carefully)? Do they have enough leverage to do good by staying in? Escrow is a solution that human rights organizations have suggested for Myanmar. Myanmar is presented with a high risk of complicity with genocide. It is important that the companies start taking action such as depositing money in escrow. The good’ole strategy of naming and shaming the companies must be used in a situation such as this.
Professor Sang Soo Lee discussed the impact of Korean companies operating in Myanmar, including POSCO International.