Aussie beer magnate finally cuts ties with Myanmar military following coup

Responsible for distributing Tooheys, James Squire, and a heap of Aussie classics, Kirin – the parent company of Lion – are a huge name in the beer industry.

The beer company held a partnership with Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd (MEHL): a conglomerate of the Myanmar military. Last week, Myanmar’s military staged a coup against their democratically elected government and have since detained State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint, and other officials of her party.

The nation’s military have been accused of the persecution and genocide of the Rohingya Muslim minority. Since August 2017, over 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have sought refuge in neighbouring Bangladesh, fleeing Myanmar amid accounts of rape, indiscriminate killing, and torture.

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Fleeing Rohingya refugees stranded near Bangladesh-Myanmar border in 2017. (Photo: United Nations)

Declaring a year-long state of emergency following the coup, Myanmar’s military also ordered a full internet blackout in order to quell civil unrest. Protesters reacted by taking to the streets to denounce the takeover.

In a statement, Kirin Holdings said they was “deeply concerned by the recent actions of the military in Myanmar, which are against our standards and human rights policy”.

“Given the current circumstances, we have no option but to terminate our current joint-venture partnership with Myanma Economic Holdings Public Company Limited, which provides the service of welfare fund management for the military,” the statement read.

Amnesty International’s Australia campaigner, Tim O’Connor, congratulated the move in a statement to the ABC.

“It’s only a shame it took a military coup d’etat for them to finally move on what was always a venture that delivered huge sums of money to [the] Myanmar military and their leaders who are accused of the gravest human rights violations,” O’Connor said.