First shareholder resolution on Rohingya presses Chevron on business ties to Burma government
Resolution asks oil giant to halt business with regimes engaged in genocide or crimes against humanity
Falls Church, Va., 12/12/16 – A socially responsible investment firm and a Roman Catholic international religious congregation announced today that they have filed the first shareholder resolution focused on the persecuted Burmese Rohingya minority, calling on California-based Chevron Corporation to evaluate a policy of not doing business with governments that are believed to be engaged in genocide or crimes against humanity.
Filed by Azzad Asset Management and the Ursuline Sisters of Tildonk, U.S. Province, the proposed resolution urges the oil giant to halt its relationship with the government of Burma (Myanmar) until that country ends the state-sanctioned violence against its Rohingya minority. It is the first time a shareholder resolution focused on the Rohingya has been submitted to a U.S. corporation.
The proposal was prepared in consultation with the International Campaign for the Rohingya and is expected to be voted on by stockholders at the Chevron annual meeting in May 2017. It describes the recent violence by Burma’s army against the ethnic Rohingya people in Rakhine state in western Burma. Through its subsidiary Unocal Myanmar Offshore Co., Ltd., Chevron entered into a production sharing contract (PSC) with the state-owned Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) in 2015 to explore for oil and gas in the Rakhine Basin.
In late November 2016, the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights said that abuses perpetrated against the Rohingya by the Burmese military may amount to crimes against humanity. The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum has reported that the Rohingya are “at grave risk of additional mass atrocities and even genocide.”
Azzad CEO Bashar Qasem said: “As a socially responsible asset manager, we seek social as well as financial returns on our clients’ investments. By conducting business with a government that is accused of committing grave human rights abuses, Chevron has assumed significant legal, moral, reputational, and political liabilities stemming from Burma’s repression and violence against the Rohingya people.”
Sister Valerie Heinonen of the Ursuline Sisters of Tildonk, U.S. Province stated: “As faith-based investors, we have for many years challenged Chevron over its relationship in Burma with a regime that has continually waged war against ethnic minorities in regions favored by oil and gas extraction companies. We believe, and have said a number of times, Chevron’s connection to the violence against the Rohingya may harm its reputation and business.”
Simon Billenness, executive director of the International Campaign for the Rohingya, stated: “Corporations such as Chevron that choose to do business with the Burmese government run the risk of supporting a regime that, through its repression and violence against the Rohingya, engages in ethnic cleansing and possibly even genocide. History will not be kind to corporations complicit in such crimes against humanity.”
Azzad Asset Management, investment advisor to the Azzad Funds and sponsor of the Azzad Ethical Wrap Program, is committed to providing investment services designed to help people enjoy optimum performance without compromising their values. Azzad is a member of the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, and the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions. The firm, based outside Washington, DC, is a registered investment advisor.
ABOUT URSULINE SISTERS OF TILDONK, U.S.
The Ursuline Sisters of Tildonk is a Roman Catholic religious women’s congregation based in Belgium with provinces in Belgium, the Democratic Republic of Congo, India, the United States and missions in Canada, British Guyana, and Rwanda. Ministries vary and include spiritual direction, education, hospitals and clinics, and shelters for rural women working in cities.
ABOUT INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN FOR THE ROHINGYA
The International Campaign for the Rohingya advocates and amplifies the voice of the Rohingya with international organizations, governments, corporations, and civil society. Its mission is to help the Rohingya secure peace, security, and their rights wherever they reside.
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Azzad Asset Management: Investment Communications Director Joshua Brockwell, 703-207-7005, ext. 109 (office), 571-970-8695 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org; Amina Rubin, 703-207-7005, ext. 120, email@example.com
Ursuline Sisters: Sister Valerie Heinonen, o.s.u., Director of Shareholder Advocacy, firstname.lastname@example.org, 212-674-2542
International Campaign for the Rohingya: Simon Billenness, Executive Director, 202-643-7902 (office), 617-596-6158 (cell), email@example.com, www.rohingyacampaign.org