Thursday, October 04, 2007

BURMA: Criticism of Total Operations Grows

BURMA: Criticism of Total Operations Grows

By Michael Deibert

Inter Press Service

PARIS, Oct 4, 2007 (IPS) - The Yadana natural gas pipeline runs from gas fields in the warm waters of the Andaman Sea through a sliver of southern Burma and into Thailand. It also runs through the heart of the debate on corporate responsibility as to how foreign businesses should operate in a country ruled by a military dictatorship accused of widespread human rights abuses and violent suppression of dissent within its borders.

Following two weeks of protests lead by Buddhist monks against the military junta lead by General Than Shwe, the Burmese government's ferocious subsequent clampdown has shone a particularly bright spotlight on the activities of Total S.A., the French oil company that served as the driving force behind the Yadana pipeline and which continues to be deeply involved in Burma.

"Total is involved in what is essentially the single largest foreign investment project in Burma, the single largest source of hard currency for the regime," says Marco Simons, the U.S. legal director for EarthRights International, an organisation working on documenting human rights and environmental abuses. "They have entered into a direct business relationship with the Burmese military."

Read the full article here.

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