Letter to ADB regarding Myanmar


18 February 2021


MR. MASATSUGU ASAKAWA

President

Asian Development Bank (ADB)


Dear President Asakawa;


Good day.


Sustainable development can only be ensured in a country if it is supported by (1) the rule of law, (2) functioning democratic institutions, (3) protected rights of people, and (4) free media. But the status of Myanmar is neither democratic nor legal anymore. The armed forces (Tatmadaw) led by Senior General Min Aung Hlaing has taken power from the elected government through a coup-d'etat on 1 February 2021[1]. The illegitimacy of the military junta is affirmed by the widespread citizen’s resistance to and rejection of the regime. This letter and our calls are in solidarity with the people of Myanmar.


According to the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar formed by the UN Human Rights Council, General Min Aung Hlaing and his military force members are responsible for the mass-killing of Rohingya communities in Rakhine State[2]. The investigation led by the International Criminal Court (ICC) also identified the military personnel as liable for mass-destruction, deportation, and persecution of the Rohingya Communities. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has already given a provisional verdict against the military forces and ordered the Myanmar Government to take necessary action for the peaceful repatriation of the Rohingya Communities from Bangladesh[3].


In Myanmar, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has invested USD 3.57 billion in 151 projects as of 31 December 2019[4]. Currently, 35 development projects amounting to USD 4306.30 million are active in which ADB has provided USD 3698.89 million (USD 3638.01 million loan and USD 50.78 million as Technical Assistance or Grant) in the sectors of energy, transport, water & other urban infrastructure, and agriculture, natural resources, and rural development. According to the Project Data Sheets (PDS) total of USD 527.27 million has been disbursed to date, while USD 3,171.62 million is yet to disburse.


Among the project finances, ADB approved USD 250.00 million as budget support under the COVID-19 Active Response and Expenditure Support (CARES) Program, and USD 125.00 million has been disbursed[5]. Consequently, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has provided USD 350.00 million as budget support on the coup’s very day. Now the armed forces are potentially using the same funds to quell democracy in Myanmar[6]. As with other COVID19 ADB recovery loans, the Myanmar loan has a C risk categorization. The lower risk for COVID19 loans stems from the fact that loan components include direct budget support and loans towards MSMEs and the private sector. Civil society groups are concerned that without adequate information disclosure and comprehensive risk assessment preceding loan approval for a military-ruled Myanmar may potentially appropriate funds towards companies and agencies aligned with the current military occupation.


To this end, Earth Rights International, a leading civil society organization, had previously stated- “ADB mobilization of the private sector to finance GMS projects in Burma is problematic because the private sector does not have to follow essential safeguard policies- such as the ADB safeguard policies which seek to avoid, minimize, or mitigate adverse environmental and social impacts of projects.”[7]


We demand that the ADB stop financing all of its projects in military-occupied Myanmar. We also urge the Bank to assess its lending relationship with Myanmar and immediately freeze all lending obligations, pre-committed loans, and outstanding transactions until the ADB can ensure that all of its dealings with the state do not legitimize military rule and authoritarianism.


In solidarity with the people of Myanmar,


Mr. Rayyan Hassan

Executive Director

NGO Forum on ADB


Endorsed by:


350 Pilipinas, Philippines

350.org Asia, Philippines

Action paysanne contre la faim, Democratic Republic of the Congo

AFL-CIO, United States

Aid/Watch, Australia

Aksi for Gender, Social And Ecological Justice, Indonesia

ALTSEAN-Burma, Burna

Arab Watch Coalition, Mena

Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD), Regional

Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio & Communication, Bangladesh

Bangladesh Working Group on External Debt (BWGED), Bangladesh

Bank Information Center, USA

Both ENDS, the Netherlands.

Building and Wood Workers International, Philippines

Buliisa Initiative for Rural Development Organisation (BIRUDO), Uganda

Burma Campaign UK, United Kingdom

Burma-Initiative, Stiftung Asienhaus, Germany

Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development, Philippines

Center for Environment and Participatory Research - CEPR, Bangladesh

Centre for Human Rights and Development, Mongolia

Chhattisgarh Tribal People's Forum, India

CLEAN (Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network), Bangladesh

Community Empowerment and Social Justice Network (CEMSOJ), Nepal

Community Resource Centre Foundation, Thailand

Conseil Régional des Organisations Non Gouvernementales de Développement, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Defenders Protection Initiative - DPI, Uganda

Derecho Ambiente y Recursos Naturales DAR, Perú

Environmental Public Society, Armenia

Equitable Cambodia, Cambodia

Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières (ESSF), France

Fair Finance Philippines, Philippines

Finnish Asiatic Society, Finland

Foundation for Environmental Management and Campaign Against Poverty, Tanzania

Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippines

Fresh Eyes, United Kingdom

Friends of the Earth Japan, Japan

Gender Action, United States

GrowthWatch, India

Human rights activist and freelance Journalist, York, UK, UK

IDEALS, Philippines

Independent Advisor and Researcher, Tajikistan

Indian Social Action Forum, India

IndustrALL Global Union, Philippines

Initiative for Right View, Bangladesh

International Accountability Project, USA

International Rivers, United States

Jamaa Resource Initiatives, Kenya

JNU retired, India

Karen Environmental and , Myanmar

Mekong Watch, Japan

MiningWatch Canada, Canada

Mongla Nagori Somaj, Bangladesh

Nash Vek Public Foundation, Kyrgyzstan

National Development Programme(NDP), Bangladesh

National Federation of Indigenous Nationalities, Nepal

Oil Change International, United States

Oyu Tolgoi Watch, Mongolia

Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, Pakistan

Paribartan, Bangladesh

Participatory Research and Action Network (PRAN), Bangladesh

Project on Organizing, Development, Education, and Research (PODER), Mexico/Latin America

Rivers Without Boundaries -Mongolia, Mongolia

Social Action Network (KESAN - Myanmar), Myanmar

Songshoptaque, Bangladesh

Stiftung Asienhaus, Germany

The Oakland Institute, United States

The PLAN: Public Legal Aid Network, Myanmar

U.S Campaign for Burma, USA

Universal Peace Federation(UPF), Myanmar

Urgewald, Germany

Witness Radio - Uganda, Uganda

WomanHealth Philippines, Philippines

Youth For Environment Education And Development Foundation (YFEED Foundation), Nepal


Cc:

Vice-President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development

Vice-President for Private Sector and Public-Private Partnerships

Vice-President for Administration and Corporate Management

Vice-President for Finance and Risk Management

Vice-President Operations 1

Vice-President Operations 2

Director General, Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department

Director, Safeguards Division

Director-General of Independent Evaluation at ADB

Director, Thematic and Country Division

Director Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management Division Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department

Compliance Review Panel (CRP)

Chief of Energy Sector Group, Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department

Deputy Director General Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department Concurrently Chief Compliance Officer

ADB Executive Directors

ADB Alternate Executive Directors

ADB's NGO and Civil Society Center (NGOC)

[1] https://www.mmtimes.com/news/myanmar-announces-state-emergency.html [2] https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/FFM-Myanmar/20190916/A_HRC_42_CRP.5.pdf [3] https://www.icj-cij.org/public/files/case-related/178/178-20200123-ORD-01-00-EN.pdf [4] https://www.adb.org/countries/myanmar/main [5] https://www.adb.org/projects/54255-001/main#project-pds [6] https://www.reuters.com/article/myanmar-politics-imf/days-before-coup-imf-sent-myanmar-350-mln-in-emergen c y-aid-it-cannot-get-back-idUSL1N2K835G [7] https://earthrights.org/wp-content/uploads/adb-legitimization.pdf


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