Tell Western Union: Stop Funding the Genocide in Burma

Hikmet Ersek, President and CEO, Western Union

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Sign the petition and boycott Western Union until it ends its partnership with Burma's army!

Western Union has contracted Myawaddy Bank as an agent for its money transfers in Burma (Myanmar). Myawaddy Bank is owned by Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings, which is for the benefit of and controlled by the military. This partnership both legitimizes the military and provides the army with profits.

The United Nations-mandated International Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar recently urged the international community to "sever ties with Myanmar's military and the vast web of companies it controls and relies on" as "any foreign business activity involving the Tatmadaw (military) and its conglomerates MEHL and MEC poses a high risk of contributing to, or being linked to, violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law. At a minimum, these foreign companies are contributing to supporting the Tatmadaw's financial capacity."

According to his profile on the company's website, Western Union President and CEO Hikmet Ersek "draws on his international background to speak out publicly for the rights of migrants and refugees worldwide." However, his company has partnered with Burma's army whose attacks on civilians in August 2017 forced over 700,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh, creating one of the world's largest group of refugees.

It’s time to send a message to Western Union that will reverberate to other banks and financial services companies operating in Burma (Myanmar). The message is that, by doing business with Burma’s genocidal generals, corporations will put at risk their brands, their shareholders, and their customers. There can be no “business as usual” with genocide.

Sources:

Western Union website (accessed October 2018)

On its website, Western Union calls a Myawaddy Bank branch "MWD Mandalay," even though the address is that of a Myawaddy Bank Branch.

Myawaddy Bank website (accessed October 2019)

The Myawaddy Bank website states: "Using Western Union at Myawaddy Bank is a straightforward with a guranteed [sic] service."

Western Union website: profiles of corporate leadership

For More Information:

“Dirty List: Western Union,” Burma Campaign UK

The economic interests of the Myanmar military,” United Nations Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, September 2019

"Resetting Myanmar Policy," Global Witness, September 2019



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To: Hikmet Ersek, President and CEO, Western Union
From: [Your Name]

We demand that Western Union end its partnership with Myawaddy Bank as an agent for its money transfers in Burma (Myanmar). Myawaddy Bank is owned by Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings, which is for the benefit of and controlled by the military. This partnership both legitimizes the military and provides the army with profits.

By signing this petition, we publicly pledge to boycott Western Union and the companies that it owns. We will pursue this boycott until Western Union exits all investments and/or partnerships with companies owned or controlled by the Myanmar military. Being in partnership with a genocidal army is bad for Western Union's reputation, brands, and businesses.

The United Nations-mandated International Independent Fact-Finding Mission recently urged the international community to "sever ties with Myanmar's military and the vast web of companies it controls and relies on" as "any foreign business activity involving the Tatmadaw (military) and its conglomerates MEHL and MEC poses a high risk of contributing to, or being linked to, violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law. At a minimum, these foreign companies are contributing to supporting the Tatmadaw's financial capacity."

According to your profile on Western Union's website, you draw on your international background "to speak out publicly for the rights of migrants and refugees worldwide." However, Western Union has partnered with Burma's army whose attacks on civilians in August 2017 forced over 700,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh, creating one of the world's largest group of refugees.

Western Union is a company that is vulnerable to pressure from its own customers. Our message to Western Union is that, by doing business with Burma’s genocidal generals, Western Union is putting at risk its brands, its shareholders, and its customers. There can be no “business as usual” with genocide.

Until you end its partnership with Myawaddy Bank as an agent for its money transfers, we will publicly boycott Western Union and the companies that you own.