Is British aid reaching Burmese military companies?

The Department for International Development (DFID), Britain’s aid ministry, does not have any policy in place to ensure that British aid money does not end up in the hands of companies owned by the Burmese military.

Of course, DFID will not give aid directly to military companies, but British aid is given to a wide range of organisations, UN agencies, charities, local and international companies, and local civil society groups. DFID has no policy in place to ensure that these recipients, or sub recipients or contractors, do not buy goods or services from military companies.

This particularly matters in Burma because the military have so many companies. They own one of the biggest agricultural companies in the country, Adipati, several transport companies, including taxis, coaches and buses, container transport and Ahlone Port in Yangon. One of the biggest mobile phone networks, Mytel, is a military joint venture. They own food wholesalers and supermarkets, a toothpaste and toothbrush factory, and the bestselling Rhino cement brand. The list goes on and on.

Every time products are bought from these companies, it puts money in the pockets of the generals. It helps pay for the weapons they buy, and which they kill with.

We are not claiming that this is happening, but there is a real danger that it could.

Please email Alok Sharma MP, Secretary of State for International Development, asking him to bring in a policy banning any recipients of British aid using that money to buy goods or services from military-owned companies.