Telenor signals exit from Myanmar, as UN calls for urgent action | News Europe

The mobile phone company says it is selling its business because of the military coup since UN officials are organizing more action against the generals.

Telenor, the Norwegian telecommunications company, says it has reached an agreement to sell its mobile phone business in Myanmar to the M1 group, leaving a country that has been plunged into chaos after the army took power in a coup d’etat on February 1.

The operator will sell all its operations to M1, an investment company led by Lebanon’s richest man and a former prime minister, for $ 105 million.

“The situation in Myanmar has become in recent months increasingly challenging for Telenor for reasons of safety, regulation and compliance of people,” said Sigve Brekke, President and CEO of Telenor Group, in a statement. “We have evaluated all the options and believe that a company sale is the best possible solution in this situation.”

The army led by General Min Aung Hlaing arrested Aung San Suu Kyi and former members of his government elected on February 1, and took power for themselves, claiming fraud in the November elections that the party of Aung San Suu Kyi won in a landslide.

The coup made an abrupt halt to 10 years of slow democratization, and sparked widespread protests as well as a mass civil disobedience movement to which the army responded with lethal force. Nearly 900 people have been killed since the coup while 5,120 are currently being held, according to the Association for the Care of Political Prisoners, which has been monitoring the situation.

Telenor said it had invested in Myanmar in 2014 because it thought “access to accessible mobile services supports the development and growth of the country”. Since the coup the generals have crushed on the free stream of information, limiting Internet access and banning Facebook and other social media platforms as well satellite dishes.

Telenor has announced that it is selling its business in Myanmar because of the coup. The buyer is the M1 Group [File: Lynn Bo Bo/EPA]

Efforts to find a political solution to the crisis appear to have stopped with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the 10-member regional group, which also includes Myanmar, which is making progress. I agreed to five points agreed with Min Aung Hlaing in April.

On Wednesday, Michelle Bachelet, the first UN human rights official, encouraged ASEAN to do more to achieve the proposed dialogue between the military and the democratically elected government of Myanmar, and to allow access. for humanitarian aid.

“It is urgent for ASEAN to nominate a special envoy or team to have some kind of ongoing political dialogue,” Bachelet said. “It encourages ASEAN to engage with the democratic leadership and civil society, not just the military front.”

The United States and some other countries have sanctions imposed on senior generals and some military companies, but action at the UN has made little progress.

Noting the lack of resolute action, Tom Andrews, UN special rapporteur in Myanmar, told the UN human rights organization that the international community was “failing in Myanmar”.

He called for the formation of an “Emergency Coalition for the People of Myanmar” to put pressure on the army through a series of measures including sanctions on oil and gas companies, and a ban on arms exports. The government must also work with the Government of National Unity – the administration created by the ousted government – to ensure that any humanitarian assistance it receives to those in need, he said.

Andrews also stressed that the international community must ensure that any claim to legitimacy by the military is denied, as is its false assertion that has been acknowledged by the UN.

“The junta has taken many levers of state power, Myanmar’s Treasury stock chains and administrative offices, but it has not – even close – taken control of the nation and its people.” , Andrews said Wednesday. “The people of Myanmar roundly view the junta as illegitimate and, in fact, a terrorist scourge has been unleashed on them.

“Now, more than ever, we must call for the courage of the people of Myanmar and choose the path of meaningful and sustained action.”

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