US Karen Community and Inclusive Development International publish open letter urging New Belgium Brewing employees to stand for human rights and vote ‘No’ to Kirin’s takeover

Last month (19 Nov), New Belgium Brewing announced their sale to Kirin’s fully-owned subsidiary, Lion Little World Beverages, subject to an employee vote.

With that, the Karen Organization of America, Karen Community of North Carolina, and Asheville-based Inclusive Development International (IDI) expressed their concern that should the sale be approved, New Belgium will be joining a company that includes a subsidiary which is jointly owned by a Burmese military conglomerate.

Hence, in a joint statement on Tuesday (10 Dec), the Karen Organization of America, Karen Community of North Carolina and Asheville-based Inclusive Development International called on New Belgium employees to be an advocate for human rights by opposing Kirin’s continuing business partnership with the criminal Burmese military.

To reach out, they published an open letter urging the employee shareholders to support human rights and justice by voting ‘No’ to Kirin’s takeover of New Belgium Brewing.

In the letter, they strongly urged the employees to not only be a “force for good”, but to also add their voice to support action for justice and human rights, and reject Kirin’s takeover of New Belgium Brewing.

The Burmese state and its key actors have committed genocide against the Rohingya and crimes against humanity against other ethnic minorities. These crimes are enabled by the Burmese military’s business interests, including their USD$960 million partnership with Kirin. As a subsidiary of Kirin, New Belgium would become part of a key financial network empowering the Burmese army to continue committing genocide and crimes against humanity.

Legal mechanisms to bring perpetrators of genocide to justice begin in the International Court of Justice on 10 December. International accountability may include the investigation of financial supporters of the Burmese army, including Kirin. Kirin’s subsidiary with the Burmese army, Myanmar Brewery, is already subject to sanctions in Canada, which could carry business risks for Kirin and New Belgium Brewing.

By operating breweries in Burmese with the military, Kirin are essentially propping up a genocidal regime and normalizing their conduct.

Thus, the Karen Organization of America, Karen Community of North Carolina and Asheville-based Inclusive Development International support calls for all businesses to divest from the Burmese military and for sanctions against military businesses, including Kirin’s Myanmar Brewery.

Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi told to “stop the genocide” in United Nations (UN) court showdown

Meanwhile, Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi faced calls for Myanmar to “stop the genocide” of Rohingya Muslims as she personally led her country’s defence at the UN’s top court on Tuesday (11 Dec).

Myanmar’s civilian leader sat through graphic accounts of mass murder and rape as the west African state of The Gambia set out its case at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Thousands of people back home in Yangon rallied in support of 74-year-old Suu Kyi, whose silence about the plight of the Rohingya has tarnished her international reputation as a rights icon.

Around 740,000 Rohingya fled to neighbouring Bangladesh after a bloody crackdown by the Myanmar military in 2017 that UN investigators have already described as genocide.

“Tell Myanmar to stop these senseless killings, to stop these acts of barbarity that continue to shock our collective conscience, to stop this genocide of its own people,” Gambian Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou told the judges.

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