Statement on report from Kaladan Press Network

5 minute read
Telenor is aware of the disturbing claims in the Kaladan Press Network report from Myanmar, also cited by the UN Special Rapporteur. We are deeply concerned by the alleged crimes, as well as the potential illegal entry into—and abuse of—the tower premises of our vendor. The tower referred to in the report is built and owned by a licensed tower company and operated by one of Telenor’s network vendors. Based on the allegations, Telenor Myanmar has initiated dialogue with relevant authorities to express our concern and seek further facts on the matter.
This statement was updated on 6 March 2019. 

After becoming aware of the Kaladan report, Telenor conducted supply chain inspections on the tower site. The vendor did find that a lock for the protective fence was missing in 2017. However, none of the inspections carried out subsequently reported any other signs of unusual activity. Further inquiries, including forensic investigations, should be conducted by the authorities. We have formally requested that the authorities investigate the alleged accusations, both through an official letter and in dialogue with the authorities, and we will continue to do so. In this dialogue, Telenor has called for independent third party organisations to also be involved in the investigation.

Telenor Group is committed to respecting human rights, and has on several occasions expressed that we view with grave concern the findings of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, and support the call to immediately implement the recommendations in the previously released Final Report of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State. Telenor has also expressed these concerns to Myanmar authorities. Since inception, Telenor Myanmar has focused on human rights and will continue to do so.

To provide some background: Telenor is committed in our license to provide mobile coverage to 92 percent of Myanmar’s population. In Rakhine, we started rolling out mobile network in 2014 as part of our ambition to provide mobile services for all.  The tower mentioned in the report was erected in 2016, but did not become operational until March 2018. In the period between August 2016 and April 2017, and between August and December 2017 entry into the area was not allowed for Telenor personnel based on Telenor Myanmar’s assessment of the safety and security situation. In August and September 2017 there were also strict restrictions on access to the region imposed from the Myanmar authorities.

In general, mobile network towers are unmanned with fenced protection to keep unauthorised persons out of the premises. These protective measures, however, will not prevent persons who use force to enter the site.

Telenor Group and Telenor Myanmar have conducted human rights risk assessments on an ongoing basis since before we entered Myanmar. We have also had third-party support in our due diligence processes. Telenor’s assessments have focused on key risk areas, such as anti-corruption, responsible supply chain management, safety & security, environment, and human rights – particularly related to privacy and freedom of expression, land rights and conflict areas. Telenor Myanmar has since worked systematically to address the challenges that were highlighted in our due diligence processes.

For more information about our view on situation in Rakhine, including past statements, please click here.

Telenor has held annual Sustainability briefings reporting on the risk areas and our activities – the first one from 2014 is here and the latest is available here.