Clothing brand Esprit says it will no longer source from a garment factory located in an industrial park linked to Myanmar’s military in a recent United Nations report, while other brands — including H&M and Bestseller — say they will look into the situation.
Supplier lists disclosed by clothing companies and reviewed by the Nikkei Asian Review revealed several well-known brands sourcing from factories inside two industrial zones that, according to the U.N, are owned by military conglomerate Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd. (MEHL).
The U.N.’s International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, which released the report, also identified Myanmar Wise-Pacific Apparel Yangon Co. as a joint venture between MEHL and South Korea’s Pan-Pacific Co., a link visible in business records available online.
The FFM report, released earlier this month, detailed an extensive business empire controlled by Myanmar’s military, known as the Tatmadaw, which has carried out a brutal crackdown against the country’s Rohingya Muslims.
Revenue from the vast empire — which spans from construction, gem extraction and insurance to tourism, banking and manufacturing — enabled the military to avoid accountability and provided financial support for operations linked to human rights violations, the report’s authors wrote.