Friday, 15 October 2021

Malaysia houses 200,000 Rohingya refugees, Saifuddin reveals

Source TheMalaysianreverse, 7 Oct

THE number of Rohingya refugees in Malaysia is currently around 200,000 — the highest in South-East Asia, Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said.

Saifuddin told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday that Malaysia, together with other countries need to continue working towards the cessation of Rohingyans or other citizens' expulsion from their respective countries.

"Malaysia is taking steps to continue highlighting the issue of Rohingya refugees regionally and globally," he said.

"At the Asean level for example, Malaysia constantly and loudly spoke out on the issue of Rohingya refugees. Malaysia also strongly supports Asean's efforts in facilitation on the repatriation of Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar."

Saifuddin further said Malaysia also sees that if accountability or accountability for this issue can be achieved through International Court of Justice and International Criminal Court, the Rohingya ethnic group is likely to get due protection while deportations as well as violations against them can be stopped.

"In the past, Malaysia had been the first country to facilitate constructive engagement even before Myanmar became a member of Asean," he said during a question-and-answer session.

He said this in response to Wong Chen (PKR-Subang) queries on whether Malaysia is willing to have a dialogue with the current Myanmar's unity government, without having to go through Asean as en bloc for the dialogue.

Malaysia is of the opinion that it would be difficult to invite the army chief currently in power in Naypyidaw to attend the Asean Summit on Oct 26 to 28.

Bernama reported that since the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi was overthrown by Myanmar's junta led by General Min Aung Hlaing on Feb 1, there had been internal unrest with nearly 1,000 civilians killed by security forces.

Asean has also appointed Brunei Foreign Minister II Erywan Mohd Yusof as special envoy to Myanmar but he has not been able to play his role because of the military government's refusal to cooperate.


Myanmar's genocide bleached as 'ethnic cleansing'

Source English, 29 Aug

The West's liberal democratic regimes - in this case the Anglo-American governments - manipulate the principles of human rights and international treaties such as the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide to suit their geopolitical and corporate interests

I was shocked and deeply repulsed beyond words to witness the apparent coordinated attempts by the administrations of Boris Johnson and Joe Biden at bleaching Myanmar's international legal crime of genocide on the very day Rohingya survivors around the world have come to recognise as Genocide Remembrance Day.

While the British Embassy @UK-in-Myanmar was busy tweeting "Today marks the 4th anniversary since the military's committed ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya," the US State Department issued a press statement, entitled "Marking the 4th Anniversary of Ethnic Cleansing in Rakhine State". The American version of spin begins with the opening sentence, "Four years ago, Burma's military launched a horrific ethnic cleansing against Rohingya in northern Rakhine State."

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In a different moral universe where rights activists such as myself and dozens of scholars and activists firmly anchor ourselves, human rights are lived principles. International crime codes like the Genocide Convention are lived law.

The West's liberal democratic regimes - in this case the Anglo-American governments - manipulate the principles of human rights and international treaties such as the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide to suit their geopolitical and corporate interests.

The Johnson and Biden regimes have added insult to the injury of several million Rohingya survivors

For the Americans, the Myanmar genocide is viewed through its paranoid prism that Beijing is dislodging the US as the global hegemon.

Post-Brexit Britain is chiefly concerned about maintaining its market access and shoring up corporate profits in emerging markets, however evil their business partners may be as evidenced in the Independent's headlines "European allies are alarmed by the UK's 'de facto recognition' of the Myanmar junta by sending a new British envoy" two days ago.

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But even my 30 years of international human rights activism did not prepare me for the level of moral depravity to which American and British policy-makers are prepared to sink. Washington and London in effect denied and dismissed the crime of genocide on the very day Rohingya have set aside each year to mourn their dead families and friends, and burning of their villages and destruction of their way of life. Blindly the two great powers throw humanitarian crumbs at the survivors who live in sub-human conditions in Bangladesh and Myanmar.

By misnaming Rohingya genocide as "ethnic cleansing," they employ the favourite euphemism for genocide invented by the Serbian genocidal leader Slobodan Milošević. The Johnson and Biden regimes have added insult to the injury of several million Rohingya survivors. The survivors are trapped in refugee and IDP camps and in diaspora dislocation. They drown when their boats are driven back out to sea by the navies of governments like Bangladesh, India, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

UK and US leaders, both Democrats and Republicans, routinely use the morally loaded term "genocide," to score points against their enemies, such as China, Libya, or Syria. But Washington and London now seem to coordinate their Milosevicesque use of the term "ethnic cleansing," dismissing the Rohingya demand that they call a spade a spade, a genocide a genocide.

The Biden administration's refusal to officially recognize Myanmar's intentional physical destruction of Rohingyas as "genocide," as defined by the Genocide Convention, stands in sharp contrast with the overwhelming recognition and condemnation of Myanmar's crime of genocide by the US Congress.

US Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Representative Gregory W Meeks (D-NY-5), the two leading lawmakers, who chair the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee respectively, have publicly pressed US President Joe Biden "to make a formal determination that these crimes (against Rohingya) constitute genocide." On the day of commemoration of the Rohingya genocide, Gregory Stanton, former State Department official and the world's foremost legal and anthropological scholar of genocide – trained at Yale Law and the University of Chicago – read his poem "What is justice?", at the Free Rohingya Coalition Genocide Memorial Event on 25 August. He asked pointedly, "What is justice for a lawyer who still won't call it genocide?"

In his forthcoming publication, entitled '"Ethnic Cleansing" is a Euphemism Used for Genocide Denial,' Stanton argues persuasively that "ethnic cleansing" is tantamount to genocide denial.

As used by Milošević, the press, the UN, and many governmental policy makers, the term "ethnic cleansing" is used to avoid using the word "genocide." "Ethnic cleansing" has become a euphemism used for genocide denial.

In Stanton's scathing words of indictment: "The UN, press, human rights groups, and many governments still call the Myanmar Army's aggression, genocidal massacres, and forced deportation against the Rohingya "ethnic cleansing." "Ethnic cleansing" is a term invented by Slobodan Milošević and Serbian propagandists as a euphemism for forced deportation and genocide.

"Ethnic cleansing" in common usage means forced deportation. But unlike the crime against humanity of deportation or forcible transfer of population, and the crime of genocide, it is not a term that appears in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. It has no legal meaning in international law. There is no treaty outlawing it. No national legal codes prohibit "ethnic cleansing." No prosecutor can charge anyone for committing it. The term is a license for impunity.

As used by Milošević, the press, the UN, and many governmental policy makers, the term "ethnic cleansing" is used to avoid using the word "genocide." "Ethnic cleansing" has become a euphemism used for genocide denial. Because Article 1 of the Genocide Convention implies the obligation to act to prevent genocide, avoiding use of the term "genocide" has the same practical outcome as genocide denial. Users of the term "ethnic cleansing"—like genocide deniers—are freed from their duty to prevent or stop genocide."

At the same FRC Genocide Memorial Event, Dr Katherine Southwick, another Yale-trained American legal scholar who warned of genocide against the Rohingya as early as 2014, vented her frustration. Southwick said to the Facebook LIVE audience of 20,000+ viewers on Wednesday, "so with frustration with the international community's own lack of accountability, yet with hope and gratitude, the international community must do nothing less than acknowledge genocide and renew our solidarity and support for the Rohingya and equal rights for all in Myanmar."

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Taking a non-legal perspective, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, the leading scholar of post-colonial studies and University Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University in New York, was emphatic with her demand for legal acknowledgment of genocide – which Rohingya have long been subjected to – when she invoked "common sense".

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Suffering etched on the faces of little Rohingya children driven from their country. Picture taken at the Balukhali camp

The Indian scholar told the worldwide audience at the FRC Genocide Memorial Facebook LIVE yesterday thus: "I want to speak to my Rohingya brothers and sisters and talk to them about a possible future. It is the unacknowledged genocide that has made it impossible for me to do what I want to do today. I don't think our conscience needs to go to legal definitions to acknowledge that a Rohingya is killed simply because she is a Rohingya. By common sense, that is genocide. But we must have an international legal acknowledgment in order for the possibility of legal redress to begin."

Rohingya – and their international friends – worldwide mourned the mass-death and destruction of numerous victims raped, maimed, slaughtered, and genocidally murdered – and lamented the absence of any effective acts by the "abstract international community" – to borrow Spivak's coinage.

On the same day, General Sadat, a US-trained commander in the Afghan National Army, was writing in the New York Times, with justified anger towards the US government for having abandoned the Afghan people. (The Afghan Army Collapsed Against the Taliban. Here's Why. - The New York Times) General Sadat writes, "I am exhausted. I am frustrated. And I am angry. President Biden said last week that 'American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves.' It's true that the Afghan Army lost its will to fight. But that's because of the growing sense of abandonment by our American partners and the disrespect and disloyalty reflected in Mr. Biden's tone and words over the past few months."

The betrayal and a palpable sense of abandonment that the wretched of the earth who struggle for their right to life and liberty have felt towards the liberal West in general and the US in particular, with US signature honey-tongued support for human rights and "the rule-based international order," is nothing new.

In the early years of the Cold War, after having made promises of solidarity which they never intended to keep, the US and western allies abandoned thousands of Hungarian rights activists in the wintery month of November 1956.

Almost 20 years ago, Matthew Daley, then serving as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of East Asian Affairs at the US State Department, met with me in his office in Washington, DC. Daley pointedly warned me against trusting and relying on the US government for the Burmese liberation struggle.

"My government's Burma policy is unconscionable. We made empty promises to the Hungarian democrats in 1956. Then when they were slaughtered (by the Soviets), we did nothing. So, you Burmese must find your own solutions."

The ugly truth is Western and Eastern birds of the same feather flock together in the UN Security Council, where they take turns denying their own war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocides, and where they flout international treaty obligations that conflict with their national interests
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But it's one thing for the US and its British poodle to abandon dissidents worldwide against corrupt and brutal regimes, be they Hungarians, South Vietnamese or, pro-human rights and anti-Taliban Afghan people. It is another moral low for British and American foreign ministries to coordinate their statements of genocidal denial as they did on the 4th anniversary of "ethnic cleansing" in Rakhine State.

Ten years ago, my research colleague and partner Natalie Brinham (writing under the pen name Alice Cowley), and I conducted a 3-year path-breaking study based on hundreds of interviews with Rohingya survivors in Malaysia, India, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia and Myanmar. We reached the unequivocal conclusion that Myanmar has institutionalised the intentional physical destruction of its Rohingya minority. The genocidal process started with the destruction of their group identity and denial of their history in Burma centuries before Burma or Myanmar came into existence in 1948. We published our findings as a commissioned peer-reviewed article entitled "The Slow-Burning Genocide of Myanmar's Rohingya" in the Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal of the University of Washington School of Law in the spring of 2014.

The Public International Law and Policy Group (PILPG) was the Washington law firm that the US State Department hired to conduct a forensic investigation of crimes against the Rohingya, using a representative sample of 1,000 Rohingya survivors in Bangladesh in 2017. When the State Department refused to use the term "genocide" in the official State Department report of the findings, PILPG went public with its genocide findings.

PILPG's Paul Williams told a press conference in Washington in 2018, "It is clear from our intense legal review that there is, in fact, a legal basis to conclude that the Rohingya were the victims of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide." But the Trump Administration decided to shelve its own commissioned report, when the findings did not suit the US government's agenda.

British politicians were no more receptive of facts and findings about the Myanmar genocide, according to Queen Mary University of London Professor Penny Green, whose International State Crime Initiative, documented the evidence of the genocide in 'Countdown to Annihilation: Genocide in Myanmar' (2015). She spoke on the FRC Genocide Memorial Event on Facebook LIVE this week.

It is no wonder that the Taliban, the Xis and the Putins of the world, and rogue regimes everywhere pay no attention to Anglo-American joint statements that bark about democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. Nor do these rogue regimes think twice before they commit mass atrocities.

The ugly truth is Western and Eastern birds of the same feather flock together in the UN Security Council, where they take turns denying their own war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocides, and where they flout international treaty obligations that conflict with their national interests.

Those in high offices who have been entrusted to ensure the peace, security and well-being of humanity have turned out to be the worst enemies of "We the People."

* Maung Zarni is a co-founder and Burmese coordinator of the Free Rohingya Coalition and an advisor to the Genocide Watch


Tuesday, 28 September 2021

U.S. court orders Facebook to release anti-Rohingya content records for genocide case

Source Reuters, 23 Sept

Sept 23 (Reuters) - A U.S. federal judge has ordered Facebook (FB.O) to release records of accounts connected to anti-Rohingya violence in Myanmar that the social media giant had shut down, rejecting its argument about protecting privacy as "rich with irony".

The judge in Washington, D.C, on Wednesday criticized Facebook for failing to hand over information to investigators seeking to prosecute the country for international crimes against the Muslim minority Rohingya, according to a copy of the ruling.

Facebook had refused to release the data, saying it would violate a U.S. law barring electronic communication services from disclosing users' communications.

But the judge said the posts, which were deleted, would not be covered under the law and not sharing the content would "compound the tragedy that has befallen the Rohingya".

"Facebook taking up the mantle of privacy rights is rich with irony. News sites have entire sections dedicated to Facebook's sordid history of privacy scandals," he wrote.

A spokesperson for Facebook said the company was reviewing the decision and that it had already made "voluntary, lawful disclosures" to another U.N. body, the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar.

More than 730,000 Rohingya Muslims fled Myanmar's Rakhine state in August 2017 after a military crackdown that refugees said including mass killings and rape. Rights groups documented killings of civilians and burning of villages.

Myanmar authorities say they were battling an insurgency and deny carrying out systematic atrocities.

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A Facebook logo is displayed on a smartphone in this illustration taken January 6, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

The crackdown by the army, during the rule of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi's civilian government, did not generate much outcry in the Buddhist-majority nation, where the Rohingya are widely derided as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

Gambia wants the data for a case against Myanmar it is pursuing at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague, accusing Myanmar of violating the 1948 U.N. Convention on Genocide.

In 2018, U.N. human rights investigators said Facebook had played a key role in spreading hate speech that fueled the violence.

Reuters investigation that year found more than 1,000 examples of hate speech on Facebook, including calling Rohingya and other Muslims dogs, maggots and rapists, suggesting they be fed to pigs, and urging they be shot or exterminated.

Facebook said at the time it had been "too slow to prevent misinformation and hate" in Myanmar.

In Wednesday's ruling, U.S. magistrate judge Zia M. Faruqui said Facebook had taken a first step by deleting "the content that fueled a genocide" but had "stumbled" by not sharing it.

"A surgeon that excises a tumor does not merely throw it in the trash. She seeks a pathology report to identify the disease," he said.

"Locking away the requested content would be throwing away the opportunity to understand how disinformation begat genocide of the Rohingya and would foreclose a reckoning at the ICJ."

Shannon Raj Singh, human rights counsel at Twitter (TWTR.N), called the decision "momentous" and "one of the foremost examples of the relevance of social media to modern atrocity prevention & response".

Reporting by Poppy Elena McPherson; Editing by Martin Petty

CHRIS SIDOTI SPEAKS TO ABC NEWS

Source ABC, 20 Sept

Chris Sidoti speaks to ABC news about the battle for Myanmar's seat at the UN and what international recognition of the NUG would mean for the democracy movement.




Myanmar military junta releases vitriolic Buddhist Monk, Ashin Wirathu

Source TheChinDwin, 15 Sept

LE VENERABLE W., (aka THE VENERABLE W.), Ashin Wirathu, 2017. © Les Films du Losange /Courtesy Everett Collection

Yangon (Chindwin): Myanmar's military junta has released Ashin Wirathu, notorious for his hate speech against Muslims, after the sedition charges against Wirathu were dismissed by the junta. The reason why his case is dropped is not given.

The ultranationalist Buddhist monk became prominent in 2012 after sectarian violence broke out between Buddhists and Rohinya Muslims in the state of Rakhine. The release of Wirathu was confirmed by the junta's spokesperson Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun, in an interview with the People Media – an online news site on Sept 07, adding that Wirathu is receiving medical treatment at Tatmadaw [military] hospital.

The fundamentalist Buddhist monk is a mastermind of the 969 movement, founding leaders of the Far-Eastern-origin religion, and openly campaign for anti-Muslim movement instigating hatred against Myanmar's Muslims and Rohingya minority group.

State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee banned 696 for their extremism in 2013. Soon after, Ma Ba Tha, the Protection of Race and Religion organisation, emerged quickly into Myanmar's political scene spotlight. Their objectives are to defend Buddhist Myanmar from alleged Islamization.

Ma Ba Tha key figures were once giving sermons urging their followers not to marry people carrying Islamic faith and boycott Muslim-owned businesses claiming that the country has been under threat by Islamization. Their movement aimed at isolating Muslims and limiting their civil rights.

At one point, Wirathu and his allies were successful in lobbying for laws making interfaith marriages difficult.

Mr Wirathu strongly supported former President Thein Sein's plan to exile Rohinya Muslims from Myanmar and participated in the anti-Muslim rally. He was labelled as the Buddhist Terror by TIME magazine in 2013 and caught global attention.

Controversial though he is, Wirathu has large followers who share his ultra-nationalistic views, not accepting Muslim minorities and limiting their civil rights.

In the past, Wirathu likened State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Gyi as a prostitute and former UN Special envoy to Myanmar as bitch and whore. He turned himself in for arrest in November last year from his hiding. He ran away from public sight since Yangon Region Government brought the charge against him for remarks made in early 2019, which included Aung San Suu Gyi's insults was the de facto leader of Myanmar.

Facebook shuttered Wirathu's account in 2018 owing to his hate speech against Muslims. 

Rumours suggested earlier that Wirathu might not be released even though he is now under the control of the military junta because the plaintiff who brought the case against him to court is not an individual but the regional government. However, Wirathu appears to have a close relationship with the military top brass as all speculations about his fate are wrong. Instead, he is now free and receiving medical treatment in Tatmadaw [military] hospital, which ordinary citizens cannot have such privilege.

Back in May, the anti-Muslim nationalist monk also complained about his treatment in prison under the military junta.

Myanmar shadow government declares war on military junta, escalating crisis

Source Washintonpost,  7 Sept

Soldiers stand next to military vehicles in Yangon, Myanmar's largest city, on Feb. 15 as people gather to protest the military coup. (Reuters)

Myanmar's security crisis deepened Tuesday when its shadow government, which is allied with ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi, called for an armed revolt against the ruling military junta, sparking an escalation of fighting in parts of the country.

The declaration sets the stage for a further unraveling in the crisis-hit Southeast Asian country, where the military has violently cracked down on protesters since it seized power in February. More than 1,000 have been killed by security forces, and dozens of soldiers have lost their lives in retaliatory attacks that have increased in frequency and intensity.

"Today … we launched a people's defensive war against the military junta," said Duwa Lashi La, acting president of the National Unity Government (NUG), in a video address posted to Facebook. He called on citizens "in every corner of the country" to revolt against military rule.

The NUG claims to be Myanmar's rightful government and has wide support in the country of 57 million. It consists largely of former lawmakers and others affiliated with Suu Kyi and her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), who were ousted in the military coup.

Duwa Lashi La said his group also was calling on those working with the government, including civil servants, to abandon their posts and join the resistance. He ordered militias aligned with the shadow government to target the junta and its assets. The NUG's defense ministry also released a code of ethics for fighters, which included orders not to torture or sexually assault enemy troops.

Duwa Lashi La, the acting president of the National Unity Government, in a declaration posted to Facebook on Sept. 7. (National Unity Government/Facebook/AP)

The shadow government's intervention was largely celebrated by activists and civilians across Myanmar, who labeled the occasion "D-Day" against the military regime.

Within hours, student unions, militias and other armed groups signed on to the NUG's declaration, offering themselves as front-line fighters. Local media reported that junta forces clashed with armed ethnic groups in parts of the country, adding to fighting near the borders with Thailand and China. The declaration also appeared to reignite protests, which had largely quieted after the crackdown on peaceful demonstrators.

"People have been severely suffering at the hands of military terrorists," said Ko Htet Wai, an environmental activist who is part of the Bamar People's Liberation Army, a civilian militia. "Such a call for a defensive war by the NUG will encourage those who have been fighting the military separately to stand under one banner, and become a stronger force."

A resistance fighter who is training in the jungles of Myanmar said the declaration was an "alarm" for those like her.

"The junta is killing us, so we have to fight," she said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of safety concerns. "This is such an honor for us."

A spokesman for the Myanmar military said that the armed forces were not worried about the declaration and that the NUG was posturing ahead of the United Nations General Assembly, where it is seeking recognition as the legitimate government of Myanmar. But witnesses saw fighter jets flying across parts of Myanmar, while security checks and troop deployments were stepped up in cities such as Yangon.

The military, known as the Tatmadaw, seized power Feb. 1, detaining Suu Kyi and others in the democratically elected NLD government whom it later charged with treason and other crimes. The military, led by commander in chief Min Aung Hlaing, claims that the NLD won elections last year fraudulently but has provided little evidence and has pledged to hold a new vote.

Armed police on patrol in Yangon on Sept. 7. (EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

The coup ended a tenuous power-sharing deal between the generals and the civilian-led government, and returned Myanmar to direct military rule after a short experiment in nominal democracy. The resultant uprising has been met with lethal force and mass detentions by security forces, whose actions have been described by U.N. officials and human rights groups as crimes against humanity.

Both the security situation and trust in the military junta have deteriorated in recent months with the spread of the delta variant of the novel coronavirus, pushing Myanmar, its economy and health system toward collapse.

Richard Horsey, Myanmar adviser to the International Crisis Group, said that although the NUG's declaration "raised expectations that the revolution will now shift into higher gear," meeting those expectations will be difficult.

"The two sides are likely to remain locked in a violent stalemate, with neither able to easily prevail over the other," he said. "The backdrop of economic crisis, poverty and health system collapse mean that the consequences of the coup are devastating for ordinary people."

The international response to the crisis in Myanmar has largely been led by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which named an envoy to deal with the situation. The envoy, a diplomat from Brunei, has not been granted access to the country. Sanctions imposed by the United States and other Western nations have done little to change the situation on the ground. ASEAN and others have pushed for a cease-fire, but Myanmar's military has not honored promises to end hostilities.

Against this backdrop, increasing numbers of people in Myanmar have turned to violence. Tens of thousands are estimated to have completed military training in areas controlled by ethnic armies that have been fighting the Tatmadaw for decades in the country's border regions. The military is doing battle on multiple fronts, including against the new militias made up of civilians.

In his declaration of war, Duwa Lashi La said Myanmar's people, faced with military atrocities, have no choice but fighting.

"I believe that our neighboring countries, ASEAN countries, the United Nations and all other countries around the world understand that we do it out of necessity, based on our country's current situation," he said.

Cape Diamond and Kyaw Ye Lynn contributed to this report.

Sunday, 29 August 2021

Aussie miner takes haircut on Myanmar escape

Source AFR, 17 Aug

A Myanmar-focused Australian mining group backed by Financial Review Rich Lister Mark Creasy has struck a deal to exit the coup-stricken country through the sale of its historic Bawdwin mine.

The ASX-listed Myanmar Metals told the exchange on Tuesday it had signed a binding agreement to divest its 51 per cent stake in the Bawdwin project, located about 22 kilometres from Namtu in northern Shan State, an area of Myanmar that borders Thailand, Laos and China.

The other joint venture partners – EAP Global Mining and Win Myint Mo Industries – are domestic Myanmar companies, and Win Myint Mo Industries has agreed to pay $US30 million for the stake.

Bawdwin, the Myanmar Metals silver, lead and zinc project, is located in the Shan State of Myanmar. 

Shareholders will be given an opportunity to approve the deal, which came shortly after a Beijing-based conglomerate, Yintai Gold, backed by one of China's richest men lobbed a low-ball offer for the entire Myanmar Metals company.

Myanmar Metals has been suspended from trade on the Australian Securities Exchange since February, when the Myanmar military staged a coup against the democratically elected government, including its high-profile leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

Myanmar Metals had halted its proposed acquisition of the Wuntho copper-gold project because of the coup and ditched an opportunity to pile into a separate gold project with Locrian Precious Metals.

Myanmar Metals chairman and chief executive John Lamb said the divestment provided "certainty" for shareholders to get their money out of the country.

"This outcome represents a return to MYL of approximately 75 per cent of its total investment in Myanmar, a good result considering the circumstances and when compared to outcomes reported from other companies exiting their Myanmar positions," Mr Lamb said.

After a review of its operations following the coup, Myanmar Metals found that the "political situation in Myanmar has undermined confidence" in potential funders for the project.

"The board has formed a view that the procurement of project finance in the near term by the company would be extremely problematic and realistically unlikely," it said.

"Consequently, the board considers that the company can neither progress nor indefinitely sustain its Myanmar operations without the realistic prospect of further and ongoing funding."

Yintai offered 3.5¢ a share, valuing Myanmar Metals at $67 million, a 50 per cent discount to its previous market capitalisation of $133 million, but the company noted no formal offer had been made.

The Bawdwin project was once considered one of Britain's greatest mines. The mine was run by Herbert Hoover, who went on to become the president of the United States from 1929 to 1933, at the turn of the 20th century when it was considered one of the best mines in the world.

The Bawdwin region was controlled for centuries by China before British colonists arrived, and production at the mine was stopped by World War II.

Mr Creasy, worth $857 million according to the Financial Review Rich List, is a prolific investor in small cap mining stocks and holds an 11 per cent stake in Myanmar Metals, according to the company's latest annual report.

Mr Creasy also has held interests in Myanmar's only zinc refinery.

Since the coup, activist groups have called on foreign investors to back out of any venture that is or likely to become a source of revenue for the military. Woodside is among the many that have put their activities in the country on ice.