The European Union (EU) and Myanmar have entered the final negotiations on an Investment Protection Agreement. The agreement aims to promote EU investment in Myanmar, investment intended to bring foreign capital, employment, new technologies, skills and know-how to the country. However, a new report, commissioned by ACT Alliance EU and Myanmar, warns that the agreement, alongside stimulating investment, may also lead to human rights violations and hinder future development.
An investment agreement can lead to uncertainty for local communities
On the one hand, investment agreements provide companies and investors with the assurance to confidently make long term investments in the country. On the other hand, experience shows that trade and investment agreements can have negative side effects such as land grabbing and in other ways jeopardize the rights and livelihoods of peoples and communities.
Disempowerment of Myanmar?
The report “The pending EU-Myanmar Investment Protection Agreement: Risks and Opportunities” stresses that the forthcoming agreement may limit Myanmar’s ability to prevent or redress future problems regarding land investments and human rights.
Need for responsible investments
An agreement about foreign investments will affect laws and policies in Myanmar. However, for the concrete impact on people and communities on the ground, what really matters is the actual behaviour of companies and investors. Binding provisions on performance criteria such as requirements that investors employ a certain percentage of Myanmar staff, or on people’s rights to make use of an appeal mechanism are not included in the draft agreement currently under negotiation.
For more information, please contact:
Mattias Söderberg, Senior Advocacy officer, DanChurchAid, firstname.lastname@example.org, +45-29700609
Marleen Brouwer, Country Coordinator, ICCO Cooperation Myanmar, email@example.com, +95 94 5058 8993
Karin Ulmer, Senior Policy officer, ACT Alliance EU, firstname.lastname@example.org, +32-2-2345660
Download the press release in English HERE.