Burma: Human Rights and Democratic Reform

May 15, 2017

For over sixty years Burma (Myanmar) was a military dictatorship, cut off from international engagement and suffering through the recurring violence and systematic abuses by the government force. 2011 and 2015 saw historic democratic elections that brought long-imprisoned democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi to the Burmese parliament and a lifting of the long-standing U.S. government sanctions. Although this move towards democratization has helped to bring much needed foreign investment for growth in the country, Burma continues to struggle with serious challenges including:

  • Persecution of ethnic and religious minorities such as Rohingya Muslim communities
  • Weak rule of law, including a weak judicial system
  • The continued imprisonment of political prisoners
  • The potential financing of notorious human-rights violators

We believe that responsible investors can play an important role in Burma’s progress towards democracy and prosperity by shifting from a strategy of avoidance and divestment to one of careful scrutiny and engagement. Because of this, Domini has long urged any companies operating in Burma to conduct human rights risk assessment regarding their activities in Burma and report publicly of their efforts to prevent and mitigate any negative human rights impacts while enhancing positive impacts.

Domini has released an issue paper on Human Rights and Democratic Reform in Burma which outlines the factors we consider when evaluating the eligibility of companies for our portfolios that operate in Burma. We hope that it will help to illustrate how Domini addresses these key challenges, as well as provide guidance to other investors and corporations.

Before investing, consider each Fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. Contact us for a prospectus containing this and other information. Read it carefully. An investment in the Domini Funds is not a bank deposit, is not insured, and is subject to certain risks, including possible loss of principal. Investment return, principal value, and yield will fluctuate so that an investor’s shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. You may lose money.

Nothing herein is to be considered a recommendation concerning the merits of any noted company, or an offer of sale or solicitation of an offer to buy shares of any Fund or company referenced herein. Such offering is only made by prospectus, which includes details as to the offering price and other material information. DSIL Investment Services LLC (DSILD), Distributor, Member FINRA. Domini Impact Investments LLC (Domini) is the Funds’ investment manager. The Funds are sub-advised by unaffiliated entities. 5/17