SINGAPORE, 5 March 2021: Hilton Asia Pacific confirms it manages three hotels in Myanmar on behalf of the Eden Group that the covert activist group, Justice for Myanmar, accused of being a business crony of the military junta.
TTR Weekly asked Hilton for a response after Justice for Myanmar added 26 business associates of the Myanmar military to its name and shame list. It included the Eden Group that has a business partnership with Hilton.
A spokesperson based at Hilton Asia Pacific’s Singapore regional office confirmed it manages properties for Eden’s hotel division.
“We manage three hotels in Myanmar on behalf of Eden Group. Two of these hotels are currently closed for seasonal and Covid-19 pandemic-related reasons, and the third is housing just eight long term guests.”
Avoiding any reference to the Justice for Myanmar accusations, the spokesperson emphasized: “Our presence in any country has always meant that we work for the greater good of the local community, and our experience in Myanmar is no different.
“Since we launched our presence in Myanmar in 2014 with the opening of Hilton Nay Pyi Taw, we have created job opportunities for more than 500 people across our three hotels.
“In 2015, we established the Hilton Vocational Training Center to provide training to local talent who are keen to build a career in hospitality.
“Across the three batches we’ve taken to date, we have had almost 100 students enrolled in the HVTC, of which many have gone on to work at Hilton hotels both in Myanmar as well as other countries.
“Our hotels have also been a consistent support to many non-government organizations and embassy liaison offices, fostering important connections between Myanmar and the world.
“We continue to believe that the global hospitality industry has the potential to advance responsible business operations, and we remain committed to contributing to Myanmar’s social and economic progress.”
In its account, Justice for Myanmar* didn’t mince its words.
It alleged: “We are appalled that Hilton is operating a hotel in Arakan state that directly finances the Myanmar army. The hotel is located where the military committed genocide against Rohingya, and the hotel pays rent to the same office that buys weapons used in atrocity crimes against the people… (it’s) a shocking breach of Hilton’s human rights obligations. We call on Hilton to immediately end their business with the Myanmar military.”
See the full report posted on 3 March. https://www.ttrweekly.com/site/2021/03/name-and-shame-campaign/
Meanwhile, Singapore’s Business Times reported that “Emerging Towns & Cities Singapore (ETC) has voluntarily converted its trading halt into a trading suspension, and will engage an independent professional to review some of its dealings in Myanmar.
“The review will also look at the group’s fund-raising efforts in recent years to provide stakeholders assurance over the group’s dealings, ETC said late on Tuesday.
“The Catalist-listed property player had been queried last week by Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo) after a campaign called Justice for Myanmar alleged ETC had “contributed millions” to the Myanmar army.
“SGX RegCo had asked ETC and ETC’s sponsor to comment on the allegations, which were posted online. SGX RegCo also asked for information on fund-raising efforts by ETC and ETC’s Golden City project in Myanmar.”
Golden City is a USD230 million project in Yankin district, Yangon, that broke ground in 2014. Seven of nine 33-floor, high-rise residential towers are open. The project also includes a four-floor business centre (GCBC), a shopping mall and a five-star hotel managed by an international hotel brand due to open in 2024.
*Justice For Myanmar (JFM) is a covert group of activists campaigning for justice and accountability for the people of Myanmar. Its public website launched on 28 April 2020.