Islamic fund leads campaign to make the oil giant consider ending its operation in Myanmar where minority Rohingya people are being killed and forced into exile.

Thousands of Rohingya people displaced by military operation in Myanmar live in dire circumstances in Bangladesh.
Thousands of Rohingya people displaced by military operation in Myanmar live in dire circumstances in Bangladesh. (Reuters)

An Islamic finance firm, which is a shareholder in oil giant Chevron Corporation, said on Monday it is pushing the oil producer to consider ending operations in Myanmar where minority Rohingya Muslims are being persecuted. 

The activist investor, US-based Azzad Asset Management, has filed a shareholder resolution that Chevron's board of directors consider how it could avoid risks "posed by doing business with governments complicit in genocide or crimes against humanity."

Azzad filed a similar resolution at the last Chevron shareholder meeting, garnering support from 6 percent of votes cast.

More than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to southern Bangladesh since the end of August after violence erupted in the Rakhine State. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and United Nations officials have decried the crackdown against the minority as a form of genocide.

Chevron, the second-largest US-based oil producer, does business in Myanmar through a subsidiary, Unocal Myanmar Offshore. 

It has projects that include a minority interest in natural gas production and a pipeline, according to the company's website.

In a statement to Reuters on Monday, Chevron spokeswoman Melissa Ritchie said the company "values the ongoing dialogue with the stockholders on this critical issue of violence in Rakhine State, Myanmar."

Chevron has the option of accepting the proposal or asking the US Securities and Exchange Commission to allow it to block it. 

If Chevron moves to block, Azzad would have the chance to appeal to the SEC. 

In August this year, a group of investors representing more than $30 billion in assets, asked Chevron to press Myanmar government to stop military violence against the Rohingya population. 

Chevron has production sharing contract with the government-sponsored Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise to explore oil and gas in the Rakhine Basin.

The investors say this necessitates the need for Chevron to express its concern over human rights situation.

“We cannot maintain ‘business as usual’ in a country where allegations of crimes against humanity and genocide persist,” a statement by the group said.