YANGON, Myanmar - Justice for Myanmar (JFM) activists have requested U.S. retail giants Walmart, Amazon, and Overstock to ban sales of Myanmar gems on their sites after an Indian jewelry firm removed all online listings that included the precious stones, which are a vital source of money for the Junta.
Late last week, on Thursday, after Justice for Myanmar (JFM) published a report disclosing that the company was selling precious stones on global online platforms in the U.S, Vaibhav Global Limited immediately removed the online listings.
JFM's representative, Yadanar Maung, commended the initiative and asked more U.S. corporations to follow. "We welcome Vaibhav Global's swift action to suspend sales of Myanmar gems while they conduct an investigation," she added. "This investigation should be independent, transparent and involve consultation with the National Unity Government and Myanmar civil society."
While Vaibhav Global has removed its listings from major U.S. retailers' websites, she observed other companies still selling Myanmar diamonds on their platforms.
"This should also be a wake-up call to eCommerce giants Amazon, Overstock, and Walmart," she further said that the companies "must take action to end their involvement in this trade that finances the Myanmar military's atrocities."
According to a local company entrepreneur who requested anonymity, Myanmar's gemstone export sector is primarily based on exhibitions, which earn enormous sums of money for the Junta through taxes.
Following the sanctioning of Myanmar's generals by the United States and the United Kingdom, the military has begun to rely more on China and other Asian markets for gem sales, with India being an important country, he said.
According to the Myanmar Gems Enterprise, one such display in 2019 generated over €439 million in profits.