Rounak Jain

  • Civil rights groups Australian Centre for International Justice and Justice for Myanmar are turning up the heat on Gautam Adani-led Adani Ports for its dealings with the Myanmar military.
  • In their latest statement, the two groups have urged the US Treasury to deny a licence request to Adani Ports to operate its port in Myanmar.
  • Adani Ports is accused of dealing with the Myanmar Economic Corporation, a US sanctioned entity.

Australian civil rights collective Australian Centre for International Justice (ACIJ) and activist group Justice for Myanmar have requested the US Treasury to deny the request for a licence to Adani Ports & SEZ to operate its port in Myanmar.

This comes after the Gautam Adani-led company had stated in its June quarter report that it is not in violation of any sanction guidelines issued by the US Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). It had, therefore, submitted a request to the department for a ‘general licence to operate the Port.’

In response, ACIJ and Justice for Myanmar have urged the US Treasury to deny this request, citing the commercial ties of Adani Ports with the Myanmar military.

More specifically, Adani Ports is accused of dealing with the Myanmar military’s commercial arm, the Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) – a US sanctioned entity.

Gautam Adani, the chairman and managing director of the Adani Group, has seen his wealth skyrocket in 2021. His net worth has grown more than even Amazon’s Jeff Bezos or Tesla’s Elon Musk this year.

Adani’s port projects in Australia and Tamil Nadu have also received criticism from activist groups, politicians and locals over environmental concerns.

“We call on the US Department of Treasury to deny Adani Ports a licence to continue its business with MEC. Because Adani Ports is creating a lucrative future asset for the MEC – this should raise serious concerns about whether Adani Ports is providing material assistance to a US sanctioned entity,” said Rawan Arraf, the executive director of ACIJ, in a statement.

According to the activist groups, MEC finances the Myanmar junta – the country’s military – which is accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity. More recently, the military organised a coup by deposing the democratically elected government under the National League for Democracy.

“It is abhorrent that Adani Ports is continuing to build a port for the MEC in Yangon, a company which finances the Myanmar military, which is carrying out a campaign of terror against the people that has killed over 960 people since the illegal military coup,” said Yadanar Maung, spokesperson for Justice for Myanmar.

“Don’t give Adani Ports a licence to whitewash their business with war criminals,” Maung added further.

Earlier this year, both the activist groups had called on the Indian stock exchanges to take regulatory action against the company for not disclosing its ties to Myanmar’s military.

According to the ACIJ and JFM, documents show that Adani Ports will pay up to $30 million in land lease fees for the project to the MEC. Moreover, documents filed with Myanmar’s corporate regulator show Adani bringing in $141 million ‘capital in cash and $148 million ‘capital in kind’ for the project as per ABC Australia’s investigation.

However, Adani Ports maintains that the facts are being misrepresented.

Business Insider India has reached out to Adani Ports for a comment on the issue, but is yet to receive a response.


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