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Thursday, 13 November 2008

Burma: the UK link

A year after their crackdown, Burma's military dictators remain entrenched, propped up by dealings with Western companies. But the Burmese democracy movement has found a powerful pressure point according to — many of the Generals' West-linked business ventures depend on one insurer: Lloyd’s of London.

Lloyd’s is the world's oldest, most respected insurer, and cares a great deal about its global reputation. By pointing out Lloyd’s blameworthiness as key insurance deals come up for renewal, says Avaaz we can shift their cost-benefit calculations on support to the Burmese regime.

They are calling on people to email and call key decision-makers at Lloyd’s to shame them into pulling out of this dirty trade. This will help undermine the hardliners and creating pressure for human rights and the release of political prisoners like democratically elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Foreign Office has written to Lloyd's of London chairman Lord Levene to outline its disapproval that Lloyd's brokers are trading with the Burmese military dictatorship.

Avaaz say that, as in South Africa, international pressure on the regime's exploitative ventures could tip the balance; because it's hard or impossible for them to continue without insurance.

Already many big global insurers have stopped insuring junta-linked businesses – after Lloyd’s, the generals will start to run out of options.

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