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21 April, 2021 (Myanmar)/22 April, 2021 (Japan): Human Rights Now and Justice For Myanmar welcome the US Government’s designation of state-owned enterprise Myanmar Pearl Enterprise (MPE) for sanctions, in response to the February 1, 2021 military coup. The Myanmar junta is committing crimes against humanity with total impunity in an attempt to take control of Myanmar, relying on revenue from MPE and other junta-controlled businesses. We call on Japanese company TASAKI to immediately end all business with MPE.
TASAKI remains in business with MPE in contravention of their human rights responsibilities under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights to do continuing human rights due diligence and prevent violations associated with their business activities and relationships. TASAKI’s complicity has been highlighted by Human Rights Now in a report on Japanese businesses and human rights in Myanmar published on April 2. By maintaining business with the military junta, TASAKI is providing a source of revenue for the military’s international crimes, which since the military coup have included deliberate killings, torture and indiscriminate airstrikes. TASAKI’s pearl farms in Myanmar, which operate under a revenue-sharing agreement with MPE, are located in the Tanintharyi region of southern Myanmar and caused the loss of land and water rights of indigenous Moken people.
Kazuko Ito, Secretary General of Human Rights Now says: “TASAKI, as one of the most well-known luxury pearl companies, must avoid contributing to human rights violations by the Myanmar Armed Forces through its business relationship with MPE. To comply with the UN Guiding Principles on Human Rights, TASAKI should cut ties with MPE, otherwise it will be linked to a known source of serious violations and disgrace Japanese companies and the Japanese nation. We strongly demand that TASAKI fulfil its responsibility to respect human rights and immediately sever its business with the military-linked MPE.”
Justice For Myanmar spokesperson Yadanar Maung says: “As long as TASAKI continues business as usual with MPE, they are complicit in the crimes against humanity and spiralling campaign of terror the Myanmar junta is committing against the people. Without action now, TASAKI pearls will be tainted with the blood of Myanmar people. We call on TASAKI to fulfil its human rights responsibilities. Immediately end business with the military junta and further compensate the Moken for harm caused.”
According to the most recent published data, TASAKI’s Myanmar subsidiary produced over ten billion MMK (over US$8 million) worth of pearls in 2017-18, largely for export, sold across the world. TASAKI’s website lists stores in Japan, Australia, Canada, China, France, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, UK and USA.
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