The Myanmar military junta may have just dealt a final death blow to their flagging manufacturing export industry by the arrest of Vicky Bowman, who currently runs the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business (MCRB). Vicky was a pro-business advocate who knew it was essential that companies still source in Myanmar for the wellbeing of thousands of factory workers whose livelihoods depended on these jobs. Companies who stayed put after the military took power were trying to do the right thing for workers in their supply chain and Vicky was a beacon of light for anxious buyers who relied on her and her organization for guidance. With the MCRB now in the cross hairs of the military, more Western brands will put the skids on future purchase orders, causing more strife and hunger in an already struggling region. Now service providers like Intertek are worried they will be putting their auditor’s lives at stake to conduct an independent audit of human rights and working conditions which is an essential tool for Western buyers to get insights in their supply chain. Hopefully the military will realize they need the support of the MCRB to stop the economy from even further declines which outweighs any political motivation for her arrest. I am sending my sincerest concerns for Vicky and her husband’s safety and mental wellbeing during this horrible time and hoping for their immediate release.
Vicky Bowman, who currently runs the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business (MCRB), and her husband, Htein Lin, a Burmese artist and former political prisoner, were detained