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Norway's Stand Against Myanmar's Dictators

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    Norway's Stand Against Myanmar's Dictators

    I was so glad to read that the Norwegian government has taken (in my opinion)a very ethical, humane and moral stand against Myanmar's illegal military junta, that has been oppressing the Burmese people for almost two decades.

    “We cannot finance companies that support the military dictatorship in Burma through the sale of military equipment.”

    Kristin Halvorsen
    the Norwegian Minister of Finance



    New Delhi (Mizzima) – The Norwegian Ministry of Finance has excluded the Chinese company Dongfeng Motor Group Co. Ltd from the Government Pension fund – Global, for selling military trucks to Burma, a statement on Friday said.

    The Norwegian Ministry of Finance in the statement on Friday said it has excluded Dongfeng Company based on the advice from the Council on Ethics that the Pension Fund cannot invest in companies that sell weapons and other military equipment to Burma.

    Halvorsen said, it is the first time that the exclusion criteria regarding the sale of weapons and military materials to Burma has been applied since the Finance Ministry amended its ethical guidelines in October 2008.

    The Council on Ethics refers that a large number of military trucks manufactured by Dongfeng have been observed at the border crossing between China and Burma. And in reply to the Norges Bank’s inquiry, Dongfeng revealed that a subsidiary company sold 900 trucks to Burma during the first half of 2008, the statement said.

    The Council on Ethics also found that the trucks have been adapted for military purposes and have significant military applications and notes that deliveries of trucks is ongoing and that there will be deliveries of spare parts in the future. It concluded that investment in Dongfeng, therefore, is in contravention of the ethical guidelines.

    Based on the advice of the Council on Ethics, the Ministry of Finance instructed Norges Bank on 19 December 2008, to exclude Dongfeng from the Government Pension Fund - Global and gave 28 February 2009 as the deadline for completion.

    I don't normally express my global political opinions, but I was so touched by the Burmese people when I visited there last March. It's become a bit of an "hot topic" for me--

    WELL DONE, NORWAY!!! I hope other countries follow your example!!!

    #2
    Now, if only more countries could follow suit...

    Though, at times, Norway could be a bit more discreet and await what the rest of the world feels sometime. The recent coup in Thailand was just a few hours old before Norway condemned the whole thing and declared their displeased feelings with what had happened: way before the facts were on the table and things had matured around the world. Sometimes, it's better to wait just a bit more before expressing your country's concern.

    But in the case of Burma/ Myanmar: it was about someone stood up against this ferocious dictatorship: this situation has matured long enough now.
    With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

    Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
    Main page: http://www.captainsvoyage.com

    Surround yourself with positive, ethical people who are committed to excellence.

    Comment


      #3
      This an old thread, but I only noticed it now and would like to put my comments to.
      Yes, the military dictatorship in Burma is bad, but the way to defeat it is not through sanctions, which only hurts the population not the ruling class.

      I have visited Burma many times over the years. First time in 1973, when I was Captain on a tanker calling at Rangoon. At that time it was a a totally closed country under Gen. Ne Win's rule. (Seamen didn't count)

      I was there several times in the mid 1970's when they started to open up a little. That time moving Drilling Rigs, first working for Japan Drilling off the Arakan Coast and later for Esso (Exxon), who were exploring for Oil & Gas off the Irrawaddy Delta.

      At that time they were aiming for foreign investment and the first tourists were allowed in, mostly Germans, but only for seven days and guided by Government "tour guides".

      In the late 1980s, they were trying to cosy up to ASEAN and allowed foreign companies to set up shop, which resulted in a marked improvement in all respects, including "free election" in 1992. As we all know the result of that election went against the Generals and they clamped up on the political front.

      Things looked quite bright on the economical side, however, and more foreign capital, incl. American, flowed in. New Hotels were built and foreign companies, mainly from ASEAN countries, were able to set up shop in Burma.

      I worked for Total in Burma in 1999 and could see the great improvements that had been made over the last few years. New buildings had shot up all over town and walking along "The Stand" was a pleasure, with the old colonial building being renovated. The old colonial icon, the Strand Hotel and the Russian built Inaya Lake Hotel had been renovated to something they had never been before, five star hotels, which didn't smell "mushy" as they used to.

      Then stricter sanctions were implemented by the US, and consequently by the World Bank and IMF, and things started to deteriorate quickly. Bushes stared to grow out of the facades of the renotated buildings again and even ASEAN companies were force to shut down shop. (See another posting of mine under "abandoned buildings" thread)

      Politically the Generals "circled the wagons" and tightened up on political freedom, such as it were. I used to drive passed Ang San Suu Kyi's house on the way to and from work every day in 1999, but when I was back in 2005, even the street leading to her house was off limit.

      The ASEAN way of constructive criticism and co-operation had shown signs of working to soften up the repressive regime, while the strict sanctions implemented by the US only appears to have harden their stands.

      Sorry if this is not "politically correct" and what everybody like to hear about Burma, which I find it a very nice country to visit and even to work in, but this is my personnal view, based on actual first hand knowledge of the country over many years.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by ombugge View Post
        ......which I find it a very nice country to visit and even to work in, but this is my personnal view, based on actual first hand knowledge of the country over many years.
        Thank you so much for that input which I found of interest reading.

        To your closing argument, I totally agree.... despite it's bad reputation, it is a great country visiting! I haven't worked there, but I have been there for shorter trips and it is an amazing country!
        With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

        Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
        Main page: http://www.captainsvoyage.com

        Surround yourself with positive, ethical people who are committed to excellence.

        Comment

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