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Activist groups target investment giants on Adani

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Human rights and environmental advocacy groups are pressuring mega investors such as BlackRock and JPMorgan Chase to cut ties with an Adani subsidiary, over links to the Myanmar military.

The call to action has come as human rights groups Australian Centre for International Justice and Justice for Myanmar (JFM) have published a report pointing to Adani Ports’ relationship with Myanmar military-owned company Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC). 

Major investors such as HSBC, Norges Bank, BlackRock, TIAA and others have been urged to immediately sever ties with Adani Ports, warning their capital may help finance human rights abuses and atrocity crimes by the Myanmar military.

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Adani Ports has been contracted to construct a port in Yangon, Myanmar, on MEC-owned land. According to the new report, Adani Ports’ local subsidiary Yangon International Terminal Company has paid a minimum of US$30 million in land lease fees to MEC and a further US$22 million in land clearance fees.

Further, the advocacy groups have focused on photographs of Adani chief executive Karan Adani, exchanging gifts with Myanmar military senior general Min Aung Hlaing during a tour of an Adani site in 2019.

Ahsan Ul-Haque, spokesperson for the Burmese Rohingya Community in Australia, commented: “The images of Adani Ports hosting the senior general Min Aung Hlaing in Mundra, India less than two years after the general led a campaign of ethnic cleansing against my people shows that Adani Ports is willing to disregard human rights in pursuit of business profits.

“Businesses who continue to indirectly support the military through making deals with their companies assist in shielding the military from accountability. It’s time to hold such businesses accountable in the same light. 

“We call on investors to immediately divest from Adani Ports.”

Senior general Min Aung Hlaing was banned from visiting the US because of the military’s atrocities against the Rohingya ethnic minority, as well as copping targeted sanctions from the US, Canada, the UK and EU for his role in the recent military coup. 

The US has also imposed targeted financial sanctions against MEC and another Myanmar military conglomerate, MEHL.

Meanwhile Australia has indicated it will suspend its cooperation with the Myanmar military and redirect humanitarian aid towards Rohingyas and other vulnerable groups, avoiding the government.

The advocacy groups have also recently pressured S&P to review its inclusion of Adani Ports in its Dow Jones Sustainability Index, while the Future Fund faced scrutiny over its investment in Adani in Parliament last week.

Rawan Arraf, executive director at the Australian Centre for International Justice said the group has “no confidence” that Adani Ports will disengage from Myanmar, despite it already being placed on notice by the UN.

“Adani Ports has had plenty of time to consider and review its operations in Myanmar. While other major multinational corporations are moving to suspend their operations in Myanmar, Adani Ports appears to have dug in its heels. And that’s appalling,” Ms Arraf said.

“If doing business with those accused of genocide does not trigger a fundamental revaluation of your business, one would have thought, that when your business partner stages a violent coup – that would be the final straw.” 

There are also concerns over Adani Ports’ ownership of Bowen Rail Company, which will operate the coal haulage form Adani’s Carmichael mine to its port in Queensland.

Pablo Brait, campaigner with climate advocacy group Market Forces, added investors are risking their reputations by “supporting a company that is so mired in controversy”. 

“Adani Ports’ role in the Carmichael thermal coal project – a project that will fuel the climate crisis and the extreme weather it is causing – shows it is not a responsible or ethical company,” Mr Brait said.

“When you add its reported links to the Myanmar military you get a picture of a company with a very concerning environmental, social and governance risk profile."

InvestorDaily has contacted Adani Group for comment, but did not receive a response by deadline.

 

Activist groups target investment giants on Adani
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Sarah Simpkins

Sarah Simpkins

Sarah Simpkins is a journalist at Momentum Media, reporting primarily on banking, financial services and wealth. 

Prior to joining the team in 2018, Sarah worked in trade media and produced stories for a current affairs program on community radio. 

You can contact her on [email protected].

 

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