KLP divests from Adani Ports on links with Myanmar Military

On February 1, a military coup in Myanmar and an ensuing crackdown on mass protests in which hundreds had been killed had drawn the international condemnation and sanctions on military figures and military controlled entities.

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On Tuesday, KLP, the Norwegian Pension Fund, said that they were divesting from Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited on the grounds the company’s links with the Myanmar military breach the fund’s responsible investment policy.

India’s largest port operator, Adani Ports, had been under scrutiny from the international investors over their project to build a container terminal in the city of Yangon on land leased from a Myanmar military owned conglomerate.

On February 1, a military coup in Myanmar and an ensuing crackdown on mass protests in which hundreds had been killed had drawn the international condemnation and sanctions on military figures and military controlled entities.

KLP said in a statement that the Adani’s operations in Myanmar and it’s business partnership with that country’s armed forces contributed to the violation of the KLP’s guidelines for responsible investment.

The Norway’s largest pension fund had an investment worth nine million crowns in the Adani Ports at the time it made the decision.

KLP is divesting because the container terminal was being built on a land owned by the Myanmar military and that there was an imminent danger the armed forces could use the port to import weapons and equipment or even as a naval base.

KLP said that in that way the port could be used by the army to continue the violations of the human rights.

In 2019, at the time the deal was concluded, the counterparties were entities of the democratically elected government, Adani said that it had condemned the violence in Myanmar and the violations of the fundamental rights of its people. If the investments were found to be in violation of the sanctions imposed by the US then it could abandon the project and write down the investment. In a statement it was said that the write down would not materially affect the balance sheet as it was equivalent to about 1.3 per cent of the total assets.

KLP said that it had been in a dialogue with Adani Ports since March this year and held a meeting with the company’s management in April. Adani said to KLP that it took human rights seriously and that it had a human rights policy.

KLP said at that time that Adani said it had made no due diligence assessments relating to human rights before the agreement it concluded with the Myanmar military. And Adani had not relied to a question about the KLP’s statement. KLP’s decision to divest from the Adani Ports was welcomed by an activist group.

Yadanar Maung, a spokesperson for Justice Myanmar said that they call on other pension funds to follow suit and divest from the Adani ports and other business partners of the Myanmar military.