“Guilty Silences” is the title of the dossier presented by the NGO Italy-Burma Together on 24 October at the Italian Parliament during a press conference on ‘The Danieli Case’, moderated by Francesco Radicioni of Radio Radicale. The dossier, subtitled “The opacity of a multinational and the shortcomings of Italian institutions”, points the finger at a Friulian multinational known as “Italian excellence”, about which the Atlas of Wars has informed its readers in recent years. “Guilty Silences” was written with the contribution of the Pa-O Youth Organisation (PYO) and the Confederation of Trade Unions of Myanmar (CTUM), in collaboration with the FIM-CISL union and Atlas of Wars. The document explains how Danieli ignores sanctions and continues to work with the Burmese military junta in a sector, the steel industry, that is strategic to the Country’s weapons production.
Cecilia Brighi, Secretary General of Italy-Burma Together (pictured right), illustrated the report by recalling Danieli’s presence in Myanmar since 1979. The company has ignored OSCE guidelines on corporate social responsibility and warnings from UN agencies (such as the International Labour Office – ILO). Danieli re-registered in Myanmar in 2021, shortly after the military coup. It provides technology and support to two steel factories directly under the Ministry of Defence: in Pimpet and Myingyan. It was the inauguration in Muingyan that led to the photo of the junta commander in chief and Danieli technicians on the front page of the dossier. Brighi calls for explanations and transparency, a theme echoed by Laura Boldrini, president of the Chamber of Deputies’ Human Rights Committee, who supports the “legitimate” demands made by Italy-Burma Together to the Friulian company: due diligence, transparency and a possible break in relations with the junta.
Riccardo Noury, spokesperson for Amnesty International Italy, recalled the elements of the context: 25,000 arrests, at least 7,000 civilian victims of the repression of street demonstrations, the return of hangings after a 30-year moratorium, increasing attacks on villages, ceremonies, refugees. Activities that lead to responsibility for crimes against humanity, for which the junta is already under investigation. He also mentioned other unanswered questions: who, for example, is selling fuel to the military junta? Roberto Benaglia, secretary general of FIM-CISL, also returned to the issue of due diligence, linked to the responsibility of supplying tools to a steel industry that serves the national military industry, reminding us that it is not a question of demonising an innovative and high-tech company, but that it is right for Danieli to clear the field of the clouds surrounding it. These are not the only clouds hovering over Italian industrial and commercial activity.
This was mentioned by our colleague Alessandro De Pascale of the Atlas of Wars, recalling the ‘Cheddite’ dossier (Italian bullets found at the sites of Burmese repression and then also in Iran) and the one on textiles and the import of Burmese teak, a sector under total embargo. Danieli seems to have already defended itself by claiming that it no longer works in Myanmar. Doubts remain, because when they were working there, the word Myanmar never appeared on their website or in their financial statements. Now they have to come clean.
On the cover photo, General Ming Aung Hlaing (head of military junta) donate a present to Danieli technicians