Telenor and 474 civil society organizations from Myanmar, represented by SOMO, have reached a preliminary agreement in an ongoing mediation process related to the Norwegian telecoms operator’s rushed exit from Myanmar in 2021. The memorandum of understanding includes exploring the option of an independent Myanmar digital security relief mechanism to provide training as well as financial and legal support to former clients and employees of Telenor Myanmar who are facing risks associated with their digital footprint.
Telenor, SOMO and Myanmar civil society have been in mediation since June 2022, following a complaint related to the sale of Telenor’s activities in Myanmar, filed with the Norwegian National Contact Point (NCP) for the OECD Guidelines on 27 July 2021. After the mediation, the parties arrived at a preliminary memorandum of understanding (MoU) that captures the status of the mediation discussions, the agreements and acknowledgements made by both parties, and a path forward for further mediation and agreement.
SOMO is deeply concerned about the deterioration of respect for human rights in the Myanmar after the military takeover in February 2021. In this context, the parties have started taking steps to implement the agreements made in the MoU.
To enhance the understanding of risks to users related to their digital footprints, the parties will jointly select an independent researcher to conduct an ICT Eco-System Risk Study. Furthermore, Telenor is sharing expertise and experience about risks to digital rights and freedoms in Myanmar under the military junta. In addition, Telenor has already commenced an internal review process and has invited the complainants to provide input.
The parties agree that there will be regular meetings to follow up on the implementation of the MoU, with the aim of reaching a full agreement by the end of 2022. Following the completion of the independent digital risk study, Telenor has committed to support the implementation of the follow up actions recommended by it. One of these actions is exploring how an independent Myanmar digital security relief mechanism could be established in the near term with the explicit aim of providing training as well as financial and legal support to Myanmar citizens at risk due to their digital footprint.
Read the MoU (pdf).