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SAIN Report: Burma--Human Lives for

Subject: SAIN Report: Burma--Human Lives for Natural Resources

******************** Posted by BurmaNet ************************
  "Appropriate Information Technologies--Practical Strategies"
This is an ASCIIfied version of a report on the involvement of the oil and
natural gas industries in Burma.  The text of the report is reproduced in full,
although the graphics are not.  It is visually one of the best reports on Burma
that has ever been produced so it is well worth finding a hard copy.  Even
without the photographs and maps, it is a lucid and clearly written report on
a subject that is too often obscured in technical terms.  The Southeast Asian
Information Network (SAIN) has done a first-rate job with this report.
(If you need a snailmail address for SAIN, contact BurmaNet:
Front cover:  A young Mon child arrives at Holockany refugee camp on the Burma 
side of the Thai-Burma border after being forced to move from Loh Loe refugee 
camp on the Thai side of the border.
Photo:  Sain/Doherty 
The Southeast Asian Information Network  and the All Burma Students' Democratic 
Front would like to acknowledge the contributions of Earthtrust, The Rockwood 
Foundation and Global Greengrants which have enabled us to research and print 
this report. The statements made in this report do not necessarily reflect the 
thinking of those contributors.
Many thanks go to the people who assisted us in the research and production of 
this report who, for their own safety and well-being cannot be named, you know 
who you are and as promised the information is being distributed.
The report was written by Faith Doherty and Nyein Han, Ed Lester lent us his 
editorial skills, and the layout, design, and publishing was done by Rod 
Petersen of Sengmanee Computer Consulting. 
Special thanks to Michele Bohana from the Institute for Asian Democracy whose 
sound political advice enabled us to keep on track, and to Katie Redford for her
many hours of help in translation.
May 1994
Dear Reader,
The report you are about to read will help explain how a tragic situation has
come about in my country that has been assisted by foriegn investment.  Please
read it with an open mind.
We are not opposed to the selling of natural resources, nor are we against
foreign investment.  But my country is ruled by a dictatorship that has no right
to conduct any international business contract that sells our natural resources
with no long term sustainable benefit to the people, or future generations.
Nature has blessed Burma with many gifts.   She has great rivers such as the
Irrawaddy, the Salween and the Tenassserim, hardwood forests and higple of Burma.  There can be
no just environmental policy when the people have no say in decision making. 
Just as there will be no sustainable development if the people are forced to
labour as slaves for development projects which benefit only the dictatorship
and their allies.
toration od democacy
are not separate issues.  They are very much one issue in Burma today.  This is
because the SLORC is selling off the rich resources of our land for short term
funds to support its military repression of the people of Burma.  There can be
no just environmental policy when the people have no say in decision making. 
Just as there will be no sustainable development if the people are forced to
labour as slaves for development projects which benefit only the dictatorship
and their allies.
We hope that this report will make clear to the international community what is
actually happening to ouruse the SLORC is selling off the rich resources of our land for short term
funds to support its military repression of the people of Burma.  There can be
no just environmental policy when the people have no say in decision making. 
Just as there will be no sustainable development if the people are forced to
labour as slaves for development projects which benefit only the dictatorship
and their allies.
We hope that this report will make clear to the international community what is
actually happening to our beautiful country under the SLORC regime.  We also
believe that the preservation, development, and rational use of Burma's many
resources are inseparable from the struggle of Democracy.  Thank you for your
Dr. Naing Aung
All Burma Students' Democratic Front
Dawn Gwin
                          NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC FRONT
                National Democratic Front (NDF) Statement on 
                 Displaced Persons on the Thai/Burma Border
As a result of the civil war that has dragged on for more than 40 years, over
70,000 people from Burma have to seek refuge in Thailand. The Royal Thai
Government has generously provided sanctuary and allowed humanitarian assistance
to these people.
In addition to the external refugees, there are hundreds of thousands of
internally displaced people in the border areas inside Burma, who have to fleeGEES AND INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS
Until now there has been almost no external assistason, the NDF insists that in the event of ceasefires no refugees
should be returned to Burma until it is clear that such abuses have stopped.
In many cased villages and farms have been destroyed and insome cased entire
areas have been re-populated by the Burmese military.  The issue of
reconstructing shattered communities also has to have been satisfactorily
resolved before repatriation can begin.
Until now there has been almost no external assistance to the hundreds of
thousands of internally displaced persons inside Burma.  It is the position of
is clear that such abuses have stopped.
In many cased villages and farms have been destroyed and insome cased entire
areas have been re-populated by the Burmese military.  The issue of
reconstructing shattered communities also has to have been satisfactorily
resolved before repatriation can begin.
Until now there has been almost no external assistance to the hundreds of
thousands of internally displaced persons inside Burma.  It is the position of
the NDF that in post ceasefire situations, internally displaced persons as well
as returning refugees need outside assistancehave been re-populated by the Burmese military.  The issue of
reconstructing shattered communities also has to have been satisfactorily
resolved before repatriation can begin.
Until now there has been almost no external assistance to the hundreds of
thousands of internally displaced persons inside Burma.  It is the position of
the NDF that in post ceasefire situations, internally displaced persons as well
as returning refugees need outside assistance to survive until they are able to
become slef-sufficient once again.  This should include develes also has to have been satisfactorily
resolved before repatriation can begin.
Until now there has been almost no external assistance to the hundreds of
thousands of internally displaced persons inside Burma.  It is the position of
the NDF that in post ceasefire situations, internally displaced persons as well
as returning refugees need outside assistance to survive until they are able to
become slef-sufficient once again.  This should include development as well as
humanitarian assistance.
ved before repatriation can begin.
Until now there has been almost no external assistance to the hundreds of
thousands of internally displaced persons inside Burma.  It is the position of
the NDF that in post ceasefire situations, internally displaced persons as well
as returning refugees need outside assistance to survive until they are able to
become slef-sufficient once again.  This should include development as well as
humanitarian assistance.
In the number of ceasefires so far between the Burmese military and the ethnic
nationalities, the juanta sis not allow humanitarian aid to reach the people as
had been agreed, and promises of development assistance were not honoured.  This
occurred in the cases of the Wa, Pa-O and Palaung ceasefires.
In order to ensure that external assistance from across the Thailand border will
not only orevent misuse by the Burmese military but in many cases will be
logistically the only practical way to deliver aid.
In view of the importance of maintaining ceasefires, it is the position of the
NDF that ceasefires and subsequent assistance programs should be independently
The Central Executive Committee
March 26, 1994
                        OFFICE OF THE PRIME MINISTER
Position on the proposed gas pipeline project and investments by multinational
oil companies in Burma.
The National Coalition Government is gravely concerned over the negative impact
that investments by the multinational companies are having on the peoples
livelihood and the environment in Burma. We view with particular concern the
Tennassarim region gas pipeline and the offsshore oil exploration projects being
undertaken by the following multinational oil companies:
                               Total of France
                                Texaco of USA
                                UNOCAL of USA
                            British Premier of UK
                             Nippon Oil of Japan
         Petroleum Authority of Thailand Exploration and Production
As a first phase of the gaspipeline project in Tennassarim Division, four
villages from Ye Township, 11 villages from Yebyu township and Tavoy township
have been relocated since October 1993. The local people have lived in these
villages for generations and are now forcefully evicted because their homes have
suddenly become part oh what SLORC considers a "strategic zone".
The military regime has deployed 15 new regiments in the Ye-Tavoy region to move
the local people out and secure the "strategic zones". Troops from these
regiments have conscripted the local people to build military barracks and dig
trenches for their security.
The gas pipeline project will also pass through the last of the dense rain
forests that is home to rare species like the elephant, rhinoceros, forests
tapir and hornbill. The damage done to the ecology and the environment is
unfathonable because the military is already felling trees and preparing wide
clearings along the pipeline route to ensure security for the pipeline.
An estimated 120,00-150,000 local civilian families, who normally earn their
living as fishermen, miners and farmers are now forced to work as unpaid
"volunteer" laborers in the infrastructural projects, such as clearing forests,
building railway lines and roads.  As a reult, it is estimated a total of at
least half a million people who are members of the vitimized families have been
suffering all the appalling consequences.
The local economy has also disupted many villages along the coast.  For
generations people from the coastal villages have earned their living from the
sea as fishermen or seafarers while local traders use the sea routes to ply
their wares.  The military regime has now declared the oil exploratio zones as
off-limit areas to the local people.  Deep sea-fishing has also been made
impossible to the local fishermen because they cannot compete against modern
Thai fishing boats granted concessions by the military regime.
The disruption of the economy in this region has led to an exodus of local
people to the Thai border.  According to official figures, the number of Burmese
entering Thailand illegally has reached 250,000.  Many of the girls and young
women have become victims of the Thai "sex-slave"industry.
The interest in the development of the gas pipeline project has also aggrivated
the problems for the Burmese people.  Democracy village and the Aungthapyae
village where about 500 Tavoyan people have taken refuge at the Thai border were
burned down by the 9th Division of the Royal Thai Army; the two villages were
too close to the gas pipeline project area.
The Thai government is blatantly pressuring the Karen and Mon ethnic groups
which are supporting the pro-democracy movement in Burma to enter into separate
ceasefire agreements with the military regime. The gas pipeline projects cuts
through areas where the Karen and Mon ethnic resistance forces have been in
control for decades.
Judging from these facts, the gas pipeline project and the investment of the
multinational oil companies are contributing to the problems that the Burmese
people face today.  Foreign investments run counter to the interests of the
people and hamper democratization.
Furthermore, it is the responsibility of the National Coalition Government of
the Union of Burma to remind these companies that they are dealing with an
illegal regime that represents no-one but a small group of military personnel
in Burma.  The military regime has no mandate from the people to exploit or sell
off the country's natural resources.  Hence, any agreement undertaken with an
illegal regime will not be honoured by the Burmese people.
Date: 17th May 1994.
                         Responsibilities and Rights
               Outlook on the Nat Ei Taun gas pipeline project
The FTUB is very disappointed that the economic and social structures of the
local population were never put into consideration when the project was being
planned.  It is insulting when company decision makerss who stay 5,000 miles
away deny knowledge of the inhuman methods in the violations of human rights
used by the SLORC military in the support projects for the gas pipeline.
The multinationals like Texaco, Unocal and Total which are based in democratic
countries and fund the respective democratic parties through various ways and
means to keep the democratic governments in power add salt to the wound when
they quote themselves as "apolitical" but recognise and work with a regime that
took power through guns and has denied an election result to be put into effect.
More than 10,000 farmers, plantation workers, miners and fishermen of the Ye-
Tavoy area have migrated illegally to Thailand due to the social breakdown
resulting from the forced labour and forcred relocation of people by the SLORC
The FTUB condems the companies involved and reaffirms its stand that after there
has been a change for a democratic government, all the investments done with the
SLORC will be reviewed for their collaboration in the Human Rights and Trade
Union Rights violations in Burma.
The FTUB demands the companies involved to stop their work before the actual
pumping of the gas takes place.
May 18th 1994
Burma, the largest country in mainland Southeast Asia, has been ruled by a 
military regime which has suppressed all opposition since it seized power in 
1962.  The regime, known since a brutal crackdown in 1988 as the State Law and 
Order Restoration Council (SLORC), has been strongly condemned by governments 
the world over.  After refusing to honour election results in 1990, the SLORC 
became an international pariah.  Foreign investment in Burma, however, did not 
cease.  In light of the SLORC's history of corruption and poor management of 
resources, a number of multinational oil companies, including US, Japanese, 
British, and French firms, signed investment exploration deals with the 
dictatorship.  The monies paid by the oil companies for exploration and 
development rights were used principally to buy arms from overseas.  
Burma's neighboring countries, the ASEAN states, have also continued development
and investment projects with the SLORC, under a policy of appeasement called 
"constructive engagement".  Five years after the massacres of 1988 constructive 
engagement has assisted the SLORC in maintaining a firm grip on the country and 
in continuing to build its army, now the largest in Southeast Asia. The policy 
is rigorously defended, both by oil companies and the ASEAN nations.
Since 1988, it is estimated that SLORC has received 65% of its financial support
from oil companies. However, latest trends show that it is the construction of 
hotels and plans to encourage tourism that is generating the largest income for 
the military regime.
In order to secure areas for oil and gas exploration the military continues 
policies of intimidation and "counter-insurgency" against the ethnic populations
and democratic forces, including the parties that won the 1990 elections, and 
are thus the legitimate leadership of the nation.
The SLORC's war against the ethnic nationalities of Burma, many of whom live on 
lands targeted for exploration and for the construction of a natural gas 
pipeline, continues.  With investors fearful that exploration activities might 
be threatened, the oil industry has been willing to continue their activities 
with the SLORC, despite evidence on the use of slave labour on their investment 
projects, forced relocation of local peoples in exploration areas, and evidence
of human rights violations against the ethnic nationalities.
The exploration, development and production of natural gas can create similar 
environmental problems as those caused by oil exploration. Burma has virtually 
no environmental laws, and there are no mechanisms in place for corporate or 
government accountability.  Occupational safety codes are unknown, as are 
environmental impact studies.  The people of Burma have no say in the use or 
sale of their natural resources, and in the exploitation of their environment. 
The environmental impact of oil and gas exploration in the Andaman Sea under 
current conditions, will devastate certain marine life.
What can be done?  Only a political solution to the crisis in Burma will make 
for sound investment, development, and energy policy.  Such a solution will 
require the involvement of the citizens of the country, currently impossible 
under the SLORC dictatorship. Concerned citizens, companies, international 
bodies, and States can help by putting economic pressure on the SLORC. 
Divestment, share holder resolutions, and campaigns can and will make a
difference.  The American oil company AMOCO ceased its activities in 1993.  Levi
Strauss & Co. hcae also stopped doing business in Burma, citing major human
rights violations.  Continued investment with the SLORC is support for slave
labor, repression, unsound environmental policy, and the delay of the return to
democratic rule so fervently sought by the people of Burma.
Burma, the largest country in mainland Southeast Asia,  has been ruled by a 
military regime which has suppressed all opposition since it seized power in 
1962. In 1988 the people of Burma took to the streets demanding democracy,  
human rights, and an end to the regimes failed economic system.  The response 
from the junta was brutal.  It ended in the massacre of thousands of people,  
the incarceration of political figures including the leader of the opposition 
Aung San Suu Kyi.  She is now serving her fifth year under detention.
In 1991 Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her non-violent 
attempts to win democracy in Burma.  
The regime,  now known as the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), 
were strongly condemned by governments the world over and quickly became an 
international pariah.  Aid was either frozen or cut.  Diplomatic relationships 
became strained and invitations from the SLORC to invest in the country were 
largely ignored. Burma became,  in effect,  an international outcast, with a 
shattered economy and an uncertain future for the generals in charge.  Burma was
clearly not a sound place for investment.  However, some corporations despite 
knowing the conditions of the country, chose to sign investment contracts with 
the SLORC. 
In 1988,  the SLORC gave logging and fishing  concessions   at  garage   sale 
prices to Thailand.  General Chavalit Yongchaiyuth went to Rangoon and struck
a deal with the SLORC.  The conditions of that venture included the assistance
of Thailand in repatriating Burmese students who had fled to the Thai -Burmese 
border back to Burma.
It was,  in essence,  a swap of human lives for natural resources at a very 
cheap price.
In January of 1989 the US State Department publicly accused the military in 
Burma of killing students who had been unwillingly returned from the Thai 
border.  A few weeks later the Department issued a report that accused the 
regime of random arrests, torture and murder of political prisoners.
Heavy fighting between the ethnic groups on the Thai-Burma border and SLORC 
was reported and in July,  Aung San Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest.  In
August  another report was released by the US Embassy in Rangoon stating that
the SLORC  was beating and torturing political prisoners.
In October of that year,  Shell Exploration BV of the Netherlands signed an 
agreement with the SLORC to explore oil in Burma, shortly after Idemitsu of 
Japan had signed.  In November Petro-Canada, Amoco and Unocal Corp of the US 
followed suit.  By November Croft exploration of the UK entered into an 
exploration contract,  followed by Broken Hill Propriety  of Australia. Yukong 
of South Korea soon joined the race to invest in Burma. It has been reported 
that US $5 million was given to the SLORC for the signature bonus on each of the
above contracts,  giving the military US $40 million in direct revenue. While 
this intense investment was underway,  the major cities of Burma were in a state
of disorder.  Students began fleeing to the border areas of Burma to join the 
ethnic forces in their armed struggle,  and the regime was desperate to procure 
more arms in order to keep control of the country.  The monies paid by the oil 
companies were used principally to buy those arms from overseas. 
The 1988-1989 concessions sold to the oil companies were onshore and did not 
represent  a new development for Burma in terms of its history in the Petroleum 
industry.  However,  the fact remains that in the midst of gross human rights 
violations, lack of access to any information regarding the expenditure of 
funds, and in light of the Slorc's history of corruption and poor management of 
resources,  the multi-national oil companies went ahead and signed investment 
and exploration deals.
If you talk with public relations executives of these oil companies and 
ask them to explain their companies investing in a country known for its 
corruption,  "khaki commerce" and human rights violations you will get the same 
response. The essence of their policy is that by establishing a stable economy 
in Burma, the path of democracy will then be taken by the SLORC.  The ruling 
elite say the same thing; that once the economy is strengthened serious attempts
will be made at democratic reforms. Given that almost half the regimes total 
budget is now spent on arms, any real reforms are going to take a very long 
This attitude is now adopted as policy not only by oil companies,  but also by
Burma's neighboring countries.   Five years after the bloody massacres of 1988,
"constructive engagement" as it is known,  has assisted the SLORC in maintaining
a firm grip on the country and in continuing to build its army, now the largest
in South east Asia.
Nevertheless,  the belief that constructive engagement is the way to 
encourage the SLORC to release its brutal grip on the nation is rigorously 
defended by oil companies and Burma's ASEAN neighbors.   But at what cost and
to whose benefit?
Through this policy of appeasement Burma's development needs are being used as
a bargaining chip,  with tragic effects on the basic human rights of Burma's 
In the last year millions more dollars have been handed over to the SLORC by oil
companies in order to secure concessions for offshore natural gas and oil 
exploration and production.   The recent investment boom has a considerable 
history.  Since 1969,  when a Japanese firm surveyed the offshore shelf in the 
Gulf Of Martaban (which lies on the west coast of Burma in the Andaman Sea), 
considerable interest has been taken by the petroleum industry in Burma's 
natural reserves.
In 1971 the West German company Prakla started seismic surveys in the Gulf of
Martaban on behalf of the Myanmar Oil Corporation (MOC).  With financing from 
Japan in the form of a US $10 million loan,  the Burmese government. at that 
time was able to seek contractors for drilling.
Forty-five miles off the west coast of Burma drilling began by Reading and 
Bates, a US company and by 1974 Cities Service,  Petrolas,  Esso Exploration and
Production, as well as a Japanese consortium had four production contracts in 
the Gulf.  By 1977 the contracts ended and these activities ceased.  In 1982 
MOC,  Idemitsu and 11 Japanese trading houses began  new exploration  in the 
Gulf. This venture resulted in discovery of recoverable natural gas in one block
off Mergui.  Tests on a second well 50 miles southeast of Rangoon,  also 
resulted in a positive response for the consortium. Estimated costs to develop 
the natural gas fields and build infrastructure to support production and 
distribution, came to over US $1 billion.  Included in the estimates was the 
construction of a gas pipeline to bring the gas onshore.
In the meantime,  the Slorc's  war against the ethnic nationalities continued. 
With investors complaining that exploration activities were under threat by 
insurgents, and a fear from the oil industry that energy facilities were in 
danger of sabotage,  ever larger percentages of the national budget went to 
Yet there was no indication that any of the facilities or personnel from any 
oil company had either been threatened or approached by insurgents.  The 
response from the ethnic groups at that time was to defend their territory from 
the military offensives conducted by the SLORC.
Since 1988,  it is estimated that SLORC has received 65% of its financial 
support from oil companies.  In order to secure areas for oil and gas  
exploration the military continues their  policy of intimidation and 
"counter-insurgency" policies against the ethnic population. 
In June 1992,  the French oil company Total signed a contract with the Myanmar
Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) to share  production of the Martaban gasfields in
the Andaman Sea. These same gasfields had been previously explored by other
companies.  Shortly thereafter, Unocal Corp, a Californian based company became
a partner in the venture acquiring 47.5% of shares.
According to industry sources an estimated US $2 billion is required for 
development infrastructure and the construction costs for the  gas pipeline to 
transport gas from Burma to Thailand. Sold as block M5/M6 and known as the
Yadana gaswell, Total, Unocal and the SLORC are currently in the process of
producing a commercial quantity of natural gas estimated at 6 trillion cubic
feet.  The block is an area covering 26,140 km and located 70 km south of the
mangrove swamps of the Irrawady Delta.
In another concession known as the Yetagun field, MOGE entered into a second 
venture with Premier Consolidated Oilfields of the UK, Texaco Oil Company USA, 
and Nippon Oil Company Japan.   Covering an area of 
50,000 km this concession block consists of 3 blocks; M12,  M13,  and M14.  The 
first well to bring a return for the exploration was M13, owned by Premier of 
the UK.  120 miles North of Mergui this block, which is also a site for the 
Burmese Navy,  produced  an estimated 2,600 barrels of crude oil and 107 million
cubic feet of gas a day.
Block M12 was the third well to spud and it is estimated that this well will 
bring in 2,800 barrels of crude oil and 85 million cubic feet of natural gas per
day.  Block M14 has yet to bring in any returns.
In November 1992,  it was reported in the Thai press that the reason the SLORC 
had launched an offensive against the ethnic Karen forces occupying a strategic 
hill along the Thai-Burmese border, was due to complaints made by firms 
operating in the Gulf of Martaban.  These companies complained that they were 
being harassed by Karen forces. According to Thai military sources,  on at least
one occasion a helicopter used by a foreign petroleum company on an exploration 
trip,  was aborted due to the presence of Karen guerrillas in the area.
Other Thai newspapers began to report that the gas ventures were expected to 
require investments of several billion dollars.  With such monies at stake  the 
ethnic population were seen as dispensable,  due to a perceived need to protect 
access to natural resources.   
"Standing in the way of these projects (offshore natural gas fields and 
pipeline),  are the villagers and refugees who live along the border.  A wide 
array of groups in the area are actively fighting against the SLORC, but not 
the civilians who are forced to flee from their homes in fear of the Burmese 
army", Information Service Mergui/Tavoy District.
By entering into a joint venture with the SLORC to build a pipeline from the 
Andaman Sea to Thailand, as well as pipeline routes to Rangoon, the oil 
companies have contributed and continue to contribute to human rights abuses 
occurring in the pipeline area and perpetrated by the Burmese military. How?  
>From the first stage of securing the route, which entails population 
displacement, to the building of infrastructure to support the project which  
has led to well documented and massive slave labour, and growing damage to a 
rich and bountiful forest, the oil companies are, in part, responsible. 
The very nature of their investment and business relationship to the military 
regime both supports and funds abuses. Moreover, given that Burma has been at 
war for more than four decades, areas where the ethnic nationalities live, 
including the pipeline route itself are not subject to civilian law or 
administration. In order to control the civilian population in war zones, 
military force, orders and instructions by military personnel are routinely 
The building of infrastructure  implemented in the rural areas result in direct
human rights abuses conducted by the military on behalf of the oil companies. 
What has evolved is literally blood loss for oil revenues.
Total, Unocal and Slorc's MOGE plan to build the gas pipeline included initial 
surveys by engineers from Total. Information received from SLORC defectors, 
SLORC personnel at Nat-Ei Taung, and from Total's headquarters in Paris have all
separately confirmed the route that the corporations will take.
The proposed  pipeline will come ashore south of Heinze Basin at Phaungdaw, a 
fishing village in the Ye Byu Township, Tenasserim Division. Heading east, the 
route will then cross Onpinkwin, Kanbauk, Kaleinaung, Kaungmu, Eindaryarzar and 
Michaung Hlaung villages.  From there, following the Tavoy and Zimba river 
valleys, the pipeline will cross highlands of dense forest before entering 
Thailand at the Border crossing of Nat-Ei Taung.
According to Total in April 1993, engineers conducted several surveys "along the
whole length of the Burmese pipeline route on foot, by car and by helicopter".
These surveys were done by two Frenchmen who conducted the survey along the 
proposed route, along with military personnel from SLORC. In February 1994, 
testimony from one of the SLORC personnel instructed to act as a military guard 
for Totals' surveyors was obtained by SAIN.  Sergeant Soe from Regiment 409 
stated that in April 1993, he accompanied two Frenchmen to Phaungdaw and then 
proceeded with them to Kanbauk and onto Wa Myauk. 
"During the journey I saw them reading a map for studying the area.  They stayed
only two days with the battalion and left. My battalion commander told us that 
they have come to study the gas pipeline. Only one could speak English and the 
other spoke only French.  The one who spoke English said that he was an 
ex-Lt.Col in the French Army.  We do not know to which oil enterprise he 
The two Frenchmen who had conducted their survey of the pipeline route also 
visited Nat-Ei-Taung on the Thai border.  According to the Slorc's Light 
Infantry Brigade 408 commander, the names of the two Frenchmen were Mr. Thalagie
and a Mr. Challa.
Total,  however,  states that after the survey was done, they were confident 
in their assessment that the area was "sparsely populated with few villages and 
a region that was 'perfectly calm'".  Their conclusion:  "No population 
displacement should occur anywhere along the pipeline route."
"I am also gravely concerned at the continued reports of forced porterage, 
forced labour, forced relocation, arbitery killings, beatings, rapes and 
confiscation of property by the Army soldiers which are most commonly occurring 
in the border areas where the Army is engaged in military operations or 
`regional development projects'."  Introductory statement by the Special 
Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, 15th session of the 
Commission of Human Rights, 24th February 1994.
As early as September 1991, civilians living in the Tennassarim Division were 
forced into SLORC controlled camps by the Burmese army.  The villagers living
in the Ye-Tavoy area, where the route of gas pipeline is to be built, were
forcibly moved to camps located along the Ye-Tavoy motor road.  With nothing
more than  what they could carry, people were ordered by gun point to walk to
new settlements for up to 10 hours without food. Upon arrival, the villagers
found a camp surrounded by a high fence and heavily armed military guards.  It
has been  estimated that from September through November, 22,000 villages from 
Southeastern Burma were forced into such concentration camps.
It was also during 1991 that the Burmese army occupied the Burmese side of 
Nat-Ei Taung after heavy fighting with the Karen National Liberation Army
(KNLA). Several hundred civilians from the area fled to Thailand seeking
shelter. For the next three years these border camps became a strategic part of
the Slorc's dry season military offensives against the ethnic nationalities. 
Apart from having civilians in army areas controlled by SLORC, and thus
restricting the possibility of attacks by the opposition forces, the camps also
served two other objectives.  Depopulation of an area earmarked for development
by the SLORC means tighter security, and reasonable access. It also gives the
SLORC a vast human resource for impressed labour. 
In the Tennassarim Division, under the auspices of development, the SLORC is 
implementing strategic plans for the rapid deployment of troops and heavy 
weapons in order to curtail the movements of the pro-democratic forces.  The 
largest development projects include the Ye-Tavoy railway, the upgrading of the 
Ye-Tavoy highway and construction of the gas pipeline. 
In hindsight it is apparent that part of the process to secure a pipeline route 
appears to be forced relocation of all inhabitants away from sections of the 
route vulnerable to attack.  Villagers who had formerly lived in the hills to 
the east of the Ye-Tavoy highway, in particular from the Zimba valley between 
Kaleinaung and Nat Ei Taung, have been forced to flee from their homes, 
abandoning their fields and villages.  Those unable to escape, many of whom have
ended up in the SLORC controlled camps, their daily lives have become subject
to beatings, back-breaking forced labour, trench digging  and building camps for
the troops. 
In October of 1993 reports coming from the Ye-Tavoy area stated that hundreds
of people were being rounded up and forced to work on a new development project
to build a new railroad linking the towns of Ye to Tavoy.
According to interviews conducted by SAIN staff during February 1994, with 
civilians that had fled the Ye-Tavoy area, forced labor, relocation and human 
rights abuses were occurring on a daily basis.
Furthermore, information obtained through SLORC soldiers who had defected from
the area, stated that the railroad, as well as being a transportation scheme, 
was also an important part of the gas pipeline project. An official from the New
Mon State Party (NMSP) interviewed by SAIN stated that the building and 
construction of the pipeline would be extremely difficult to do without the 
railroad.  The railway line runs north to south from Ye to Tavoy, while the 
pipeline runs east west intersecting at the railroad.  In order to ensure 
control over conscripts the SLORC have 7 main control centers from Ye through
to Zimba.  The control center at Zimba is in the vicinity of the pipeline route 
which also serves as a military base for the SLORC's Light Infantry Battalion 
Apart from the forced relocation of civilians in the Tennassarim Division, in 
September 1993, six truckloads of prisoners were brought from Moulmein and 
forced to clear a track for a survey team.  This survey took place at 
Kaleinaung, through Kanbauk and into Phaungdaw.  An eyewitness account of this 
included the description of the prisoners who "wore white clothes and some were 
shackled".  These prisoners were kept in the compound of LIB 409 which is at 
"Close to Nat-Ei Taung, Danowsee, Aung Tha Pyay, Democracy village and Ah Le Sto
are refugee camps that had been shifted and burned down frequently.  I had just 
been here a little over one year and know that these camps had been relocated 
three times already.  In doing so, clinics and schools were unsettled.  We had 
to confront with health problems many times.  SLORC soldiers sometimes demanded 
us to do portering.  Sometimes they may demand porter fees.  Yet, to stay in the
camps is far better than staying under the direct control of SLORC regime.  We 
had learned that these camps had been shifted because the SLORC army would like 
the public to stay further from the pipeline".  Saw Hga Htay,  Ah Le Sto Refugee
Due to the SLORC's ongoing military offensives, many refugees from the 
Tennassarim Division have fled to Thailand and are living in camps along the 
Thai-Burma border.  In January 1993 the first attempts by Thailand to force 
refugees from Burma out of Thailand and back into their country began.  Local 
Thai authorities came to the largest of the refugee camps Loh Loe and ordered 
the civilians to move out of Thailand and back into Burma.
It has served as a refuge for those fleeing from Burmese army military 
offensives in Mon Land.  The Mon National Relief Committee (MNRC) responded to
the refoulement by petitioning the Thai Prime Minister to allow the refugee
camps to stay until the military regime in Burma had been overthrown, and
genuine peace and democracy was achieved in the country.
On February 16th a meeting was held in Sangkhla Buri between the MNRC and the 
National Security council of Thailand (NSC), representatives from the 9th 
Division of the Royal Thai Army, and the Thai Border Patrol Police Department. 
The result was an agreement for the Mon refugees to be relocated into two sites,
Tong Huay camp and Peace camp, both of which are on the Thai side of the 
An agreement was also signed between the different parties that allowed the 
Mon refugees to take shelter on Thai soil until the political situation in Burma
changed.  On April 7th the 9th Division of the Thai army came into two refugee
camps, Ung Tha Pye and Democracy Village and torched some of the houses to the
ground. At least 500 people were displaced.  According to refugee sources they
were told to leave Thailand and return to Burma. Moreover, the Thai army
commander gave the refugees just 5 minutes to gather their possessions. Some of
the refugees reported that the Thai soldiers were accompanied by SLORC men in
both civilian clothes and Thai uniforms.
Those that had lost their homes made their way to Danowsee village, but due to 
water shortages they were forced to move back to their old location. Reports 
from the border state that the people in the refugee camps have had to migrate 
repeatedly due to harassment.  For the refugees, choices were limited; stay 
where they were and face the Thai army, or return to Burma and face the SLORC. 
Many people fled to rebel camps run by Burmese students where they felt they 
could be safe temporarily.
But the issue did not end there. In September, obvious pressure was being 
applied to Mon, Tavoyan, and Karen refugees living on the Thai-Burma border from
Thai officials. Refugees were told that the Thai army would force out the 10,000
Mon refugees living in refugee camps along the border, in Sangkhla Buri 
district, by the end of the month.
For another month, the NSC continued to deny reports that pressure was being 
exerted on the Mon.  However, sources from the area were insistent that the plan
to relocate refugees was not only to force the Mon rebels to negotiate for a 
cease-fire with the SLORC, but also to make way for the gas pipeline.
The first group of residents from Loh Loe were supposed to be moved on the 29th 
of September to a new site called Holockany.  This new settlement is in Burma,
5 km from the field command of the 62nd Battalion of the Burmese army.
Thailand's plan to relocate the refugees backfired.  In October, the first group
that was supposed to go and prepare the land for the new settlement were given 
utensils and expected to be escorted all the way by Thai authorities.  
Classified as volunteers, the 139 refugees were reported to still be in 
Thailand, as they were afraid to cross the border into Burma.  Their Thai 
escorts had left them half way and expected them to finish their journey by 
themselves, and to start clearing the new site on the Burmese side.  They 
refused to do so and stayed where they were on the Thai side.
In the meantime, whilst the refugees were stranded on the border, a nine man 
delegation from the Petroleum Authority of Thailand, (PTT) went to Rangoon to 
discuss their interests in purchasing natural gas from the Andaman Sea. They met
with Burma's energy minister Khin Maung Thein and held a meeting with 
representatives from foreign oil companies.  It was revealed that a meeting had 
occurred in June between the PTT governor and executives from Total and Unocal, 
in which the ground work was laid for future plans.
At the end of 1993, the jungle-based dissident government that consists of 
elected officials and politicians from Aung San Suu Kyi's party, the winners of 
the 1990 election which the SLORC has refused to recognize, contacted Total. 
They requested that Total postpone their project for the time being.  Concerns 
were raised by the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB) 
that forced labour was being used to prepare a route for the pipeline. Total was
told by the NCGUB that any profits made from their venture with the SLORC were 
not going to benefit the people of Burma, nor the ethnic population whose land 
and waters their venture encompassed.  They stated that the profits made would 
go to the procurement of arms and ammunition to fight the ethnic forces and 
control the people in the cities of Burma. Total's response was to continue.
In February 1994, the 9th Division returned to Democracy village and Aung Tha 
Pyay and ordered the refugees once again to move.  They wanted them to go to 
Danowsee, otherwise known as Banana village, within 2 days.
The situation was now at a breaking point.  Pressure from Thai authorities on 
the Mon population living in, around and outside  the border areas was immense. 
The refugees from Loh Loe have now been moved to Holockany, where they are a 
mere 5 km from the nearest SLORC post.  The huts in which the refugees live have
been made from bamboo forest that is now cleared, and they have a major water 
shortage which was not the case in Loh Loe. Humanitarian groups continue 
to assist the camps along Thailand's border, but with increasing difficulty. 
Denial of access to Holockany by Thai troops, especially as it is across the 
border,  is a constant threat used by Thai authorities in negotiating their 
policy of forcing the ethnic groups to sign cease-fires with the SLORC.
In seeking shelter from the protracted civil war, the people of Burma have fled 
to Thailand, where in the past Thai authorities have shown compassion for those 
in danger. This no longer seems possible.  The strengthening of the Thai-SLORC 
relationship is now a Thai priority and it is clear that one of the major 
factors driving this new policy is access to Burma's abundant natural resources.
Short term economic gains at the cost of Burma's people will backfire and both 
countries will face an ever increasing crisis which we believe is one of 
environmental security. 
It is the military regime in Burma that must be held accountable for the way it 
continues to terrorize and murder its people, and the foreign oil companies that
continue to assist the regime with their financial support.  The refugees in Loh
Loe and the civilians living in the gas pipeline area are already suffering from
this joint venture.  By the time the project is finished, who benefits from this
source of energy and development?  Not the people of Burma.
"Some soldiers from Battalion 408, 409, and 410 told us that this pipeline will 
pass through our village and so we have to dismantle our temple.  It is more 
possible that all of our fruit gardens will be destroyed without compensation. 
Only now we came to know that this pipeline is the main reason."  (Saw Gay Htoo,
Michaung village)
"Burma is a military dictatorship and major human rights violator.  It is ruled
by the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) which seized power in 
September 1988 after suppressing massive pro-democracy demonstrations.  These 
had led to the formal departure  from power of longtime ruler General Ne Win, 
whose policies had isolated Burma and engendered economic decline.  The SLORC
is headed by the armed forces commander and its members are senior officers who 
served under Ne Win. Although the military permitted a relatively free election 
in 1990, it did not transfer power to the victorious party headed by 
pro-democracy movement leaders. The military attacked the winning political 
parties through arrests and other forms of intimidation....."   The United 
States Department of State.  Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1992.
Submitted last year to Congress.
As multi-national corporations (MNC's) expand globally, concern has arisen as
to the behavior of such corporations abroad.   Profits are now routinely earned 
with revenues from outside core holdings like the United States, and Europe. 
As markets expand, and smaller companies merge with larger corporations, the
issue of international monitoring and regulation of those companies is fast
becoming a major foreign policy issue.  The issue of human rights, and of
socially responsible behavior is not new,  nor is it a concept that is only
directed at Asia.  Latin America,  Africa, and Pacific Island States are also
affected by companies  expanding their markets internationally as they seek
opportunities in developing countries.  With one half of the world's industrial
output generated by multi-national corporations, governments are no longer the
largest controlling factor in international business.  Apart from the economic
and technical influence the MNC's may have in a country,  it is now clear that
the cultural and political effect on societies can be enormous. 
The consequences of MNC investment in Burma are now being highlighted by both 
investors and environmental activists. Because Burma is one of the world's worst
human rights offenders, activists in the human rights world are also watching 
these developments and trying to expose the damage; damage which has resulted
in the military regime gaining more control over a people who already live in
a climate of secrecy,  fear and intimidation.
Corporations are run by people who largely enjoy the benefits of their home  
countries' adherence to international principles of human rights.  If their 
leaders  can personally function in their role as executives managing large 
companies without fear and intimidation,  arbitrary arrest and freedom of 
speech,  so should people affected by their corporations in other lands.  In 
terms of the petroleum industry, executives are in privileged business positions
because they have the freedom to lobby their own governments. The people of 
Burma do not even have a government.  They are ruled by a military regime,  and 
have neither the right to lobby nor to vote. 
In the global economy of today,  with regional trading blocks, and global 
agreements,  the issues of trade, international labour standards, and workers' 
rights are increasingly being manipulated by corporations headquartered in 
cities like New York,  London, and Paris.  In search of larger profits,  many 
corporations are shifting out of their home countries and expanding their 
business activities in the developing world.   This has already happened 
throughout the Petroleum Industry,  and is expected to increase over time.
The trading mechanisms now being discussed in forums such as GATT, and the 
preparatory meetings to discuss the future agenda of the World Trade 
Organisation (WTO) are addressing this issue. One of the suggestions being made 
is to enact a mechanism whereby goods exported from countries with sub-standard 
labour practices should be subject to trade penalties.
This is seen by some as a means for corporations based in the North to protect 
their markets.  With the economic boom in Southeast Asia challenging markets 
controlled by the North, enforcing trade penalties against the South through 
issues like labour policy can be used to protect market share.   In this MNC 
climate and age we cannot ignore the fact that a global economy is emerging.  
It is therefore clear that there need be some mechanisms whereby those who are 
struggling to develop and sustain growth are given fair opportunities in 
competition with those countries which are already developed.    
In the case of Burma, however, the population has virtually no input as to the 
decision-making process regarding national environmental resource policy.  
Sustainable development, therefore, is virtually impossible.  As in Haiti and 
other countries, there should be no support or investment in Burma until those 
elected by the majority of the people are allowed to resume power. 
All the major oil companies currently active in Burma have continuously stated 
that they are not involved with politics.  They also state that by investing in 
Burma they are able to provide employment and benefits for a community living
in poverty.  From the perspective of a CEO sitting in Los Angeles,  Paris, or 
Seoul,  where the only reality of their investment is their monthly profit 
sheet,  this could be understandable. However, Unocal, Total, Premier, Yukong, 
Nippon Oil, Texaco, and Amoco have consistently been provided with information 
on the situation inside Burma. This information is not only provided by 
activists, but also by socially responsible research companies, religious 
groups,  the media,  and politicians.  The excuse that they are non-political, 
or unaware of the political reality in Burma,  is therefore totally 
unacceptable. If you sign a contract for a long term investment with a military 
regime that is known for its economic mis-management and horrific human rights 
record, you are acting politically.   Doing business with Generals who pursue 
policies that can best be described as inhumane is inherently political.
No one wants to see Burma decline further than it has.   The country has a debt 
created by the ruling regime of US $4.8 billion, and depending on different 
sources inflation is currently running at 30%.
We must ask as to where the money that has come from foreign investment has 
gone. According to people living in Burma,  there have been economic changes, 
but not for those who are not part of the military elite.  US $2 billion foreign
investment, mostly being generated by South Korea and Singapore, was planned for
the first three months of this year for Burma.
Most of it earmarked towards the hotel construction business.  Where it is no 
doubt true that this will create jobs which will help the people of Burma,  how 
many hotels can the junta run?  
After the massacres of 1988 and 1989, in order to gain control of Rangoon the 
SLORC forced over 100,000 people from communities heavily involved in 
demonstrations into satellite towns in the suburbs of Rangoon.  Basic needs such
as water,  electricity and sanitation were non-existent and to this day are 
still lacking.
It is ironic that one of the largest foreign investment sectors in the country 
should be energy, a sector that has been functioning in Burma for decades.  Yet 
the displaced people of Rangoon and other satellite towns live without 
electricity.  However, in terms of ensuring that the military structure that 
rules the country stays in control and is able to grow,  it is only logical that
the elite will benefit from more energy rather than civilians forcibly relocated
into satellite towns. 
With heavy oil industry investment in the country occurring at the time,  where 
did the profits go which the SLORC earned from signature if not into 
development?  It was widely reported at the time that these funds were used 
directly for the purchase of weapons for the regime to continue their violent 
response to the civilian uprising occurring around the country.
In order for the SLORC to join in the world's economy they are having to face 
the results of their horrific policies towards the many different communities 
that make up Burma.  Between January 1993 and January 1994, the SLORC Finance 
Minister, General Win Tin,  visited Washington three times.  His purpose was to 
lobby for the resumption of loans from the World Bank and the IMF.  To date 
Burma's request has been rejected.   However,  situated in a region where other 
countries have quickly depleted their own natural resources,  some analysts feel
it won't be long before such loans are resumed.  Burma has resources, which are 
severely depleted in neighboring countries.  She has jungles rich with 
hardwoods,  seas full of fish,  minerals and gems.   Given the short term profit
orientation in the business world today regarding natural resources in 
developing nations,  it may not be long before the country is in the same state 
as its neighbors. 
There are companies with overseas investments that have chosen to take 
responsibility for their influence, which are still functioning well with 
profits that benefit their shareholders.   One such company is Levi Strauss & 
Levi Strauss has adopted a corporate policy structure for business overseas that
should be encouraged in other companies.   "The company should not initiate or
renew contractual relationships in countries where there are pervasive
violations of basic human rights."
Levi Strauss & Co also adheres to a policy they call Business Partners Terms of 
Engagement.   This allows the company to ensure that they select future 
contractors for the company with terms that are conducive to Levis' policy.   
Strict environmental requirements, employment standards, working hours, child 
labor laws, restriction on prison labor, discrimination and disciplinary 
practices,  are all part of the terms Levi has for doing business.   As a result
of their positive attitude towards human rights, Levi Strauss announced in 1992,
it would no longer be conducting business in Burma. 
"Eco-efficiency is the proper corporate response to the global goal of 
sustainable development.   It is also the right response to the particular 
situation we in this region face at this stage in our development - and it 
should become a benchmark by which business sets out to measure itself,  and be 
measured by,  in the future."  Former Prime Minister of Thailand,  Anand 
With the success environmental groups have had in exposing unethical, and in 
some cases criminal behavior, on the part of oil companies in the United Sates 
and Latin America, questions are being asked as to the accountability of  
corporations functioning in Burma, a country where there is no government 
accountability.  An example is Unocal Corp.   It was revealed in March 1992 that
the corporation had been responsible for what is now known as the largest oil 
spill in Californian history. Pipeline fractures and leakage's over a period of 
15 years resulted in contamination of the ocean and precious ground water supply
with diluent.  A clear, diesel fluid covered the Californian coast with a film 
of at least 8.5 million gallons of petroleum thinner.
It took two raids by the Office of Oil Spill Prevention and Response, a recently
created state Californian  controlled watchdog, to sift through 80 boxes of 
paperwork recording details of Unocal's operation before local authorities filed
a 36 count criminal complaint against the oil company.  Because criminal charges
were filed 2 days after the statute of limitations had already expired, a plea 
bargain is being negotiated between government bodies and the company. Unocal
is now in the process of trying to clean up the mess they have left along 
California beaches; problems that are being taken seriously by the public and 
government agencies that oversee environmental procedures within the industry.
Unocal is now operating in Burma, a country without any such environmental 
regulations, government agencies, non-government environmental groups, or 
procedures for accountability.  If a corporation can hide 15 years of leaks and 
spills in California and act without concern towards the communities who live 
along its coast, what will their behavior be like in a country that has no 
process of accountability, or even the possibility of its people to question and
In the US, oil companies receive exemptions from regulations, tax breaks and are
a dominant force in lobbying for legislative protection for their industry. They
expect protection from governments as they produce one of the worlds major 
resources, oil and natural gas.   The petroleum industry has for almost one 
hundred years been treated with privileges they now expect and demand.  It is 
with this attitude that they pursue oil and gas concessions overseas,  leaving 
behind a polluted United States.  US citizens are now responsible for the 
cleanup and for attempts to bring back an environment contaminated with toxins 
-- toxins that can have effects lasting for generations.   It is their tax 
dollars that will be used to pay for the cleanup.
The plan to build a pipeline from the Andaman Sea,  through ethnic ancestral 
lands,  and into Thailand,  is just the beginning of a disaster waiting to 
happen. The cost of having the Petroleum industry in Burma, given the current 
state of business practices,  is more than just financial.  The people of Burma,
whether they are ruled by a military regime or not, will be paying for an 
industry that is in the process of abandoning the developed world for countries 
where profits can be made quickly and without challenges from environmental and 
human rights lobbies. The cost of clean ups, environmental pollution, ethnic and
cultural destruction, lives lost in pipeline and  refinery explosions,  and 
resources destroyed for future generations, are all factors that must be taken 
into account when weighing the benefits of having multi-national oil companies 
operate without regulations in Burma.
Every day the media reports of how the world's natural resources are 
disappearing at alarming rates.  Governments hold global conferences on the 
issue, and there are now environmentally sound conventions for governments to 
sign.  This is not an issue solely being addressed by the North. Southern 
countries, and in particular ASEAN, are now including environmental issues on 
agenda.  These are all positive signs, but the issue of energy efficiency and 
the need for a more tightly controlled Petroleum industry in the region are 
falling on deaf ears.  
In 1988 a group of socially concerned investors in the United States joined 
forces with leading environmentalists, public pensions, and religious groups to 
form CERES.  With the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska highlighting the 
irresponsibility of the oil industry, CERES drafted a ten-point code of conduct 
for businesses to assist them in their efforts to operate in an environmentally 
sound manner.  This code of conduct was called the Valdez Principles, now known 
as the CERES Principles. 
CERES is a coalition with more than ten million people and over US $150 billion 
in invested assets.  Its interests are not limited to the United States but are 
global.  In 1993, Sun Company, a US based oil giant with a disastrous record of 
environmental pollution, became the first of the 500 largest companies in the 
world to sign on to the CERES principles.
Sun Company is the 12th largest oil company in the United States.  Apart from 
a commitment to ecologically sound operations, companies that sign onto the 
CERES principles also have to make public all their environmental efforts whilst
conducting their operations. 
With interest now growing from other large multi-nationals, the first steps 
toward a responsible business code  for the global environment have occurred. 
" 960 billion tons of carbon remain locked in the global natural gas reserve. 
If we unleash even one-third that amount of carbon we will push the temperature 
of the earth past the upper limit for "allowed" warming, beyond which await 
catastrophic changes." Natural Gas Bridging Fuel or Roadblock to Clean 
Energy?", A Greenpeace report
One of the major resources gaining development support in the Asian region is 
Natural Gas.   Oil companies describe natural gas as a clean, plentiful fossil 
fuel. They maintain that natural gas makes minimal contributions to climate 
change, and is the fuel for the future.   No matter how the industry tries to 
package their product, the fact remains that from seismic surveys to drilling, 
production, processing and distribution, natural gas is far from clean.  While 
it is true that natural gas contains less carbon than coal or oil, the more 
fundamental issue of a fossil free future is being ignored by the industry. 
Natural gas is made up of approximately 80 - 95% methane, a greenhouse or 
warming gas.  It is second only to carbon dioxide in terms of its contribution 
to future climate change. We have already discussed the social impact of Burma's
decision to explore natural gas, so how does the SLORC's energy policy affect
domestic energy use?
A report from sources in Rangoon to SAIN described how the army has stationed 
armed guards around all petrol stations. Those lucky enough to have rations to 
receive oil to fuel their vehicles (including buses and trucks), can have their 
rations taken away by the SLORC at any time.
In the rural areas of the country finding fuel in the form of wood for cooking 
will become increasingly difficult as large scale logging increases.  It is 
again ironic that local communities living only a few meters away from a gas 
pipeline should not have access to fuel for basic survival.
Burma's chances for introducing more efficient measures and renewable systems, 
which could result in a healthier environment and a stronger economy are linked 
to both democratic reform and to changes in the ways MNC's conduct their 
In the case of the gas pipeline, environmental and social assessments should 
have been made with the cooperation of an effective public body. Obviously this 
did not happen. 
The exploration, development and production of natural gas can create the same 
environmental problems as oil exploration.  From the culmination of drilling 
muds to wetland loss and contamination, the environmental costs of natural gas 
can be enormous.  Moreover, in the case of offshore rigs the "out of sight, out 
of mind" attitude  can make it virtually impossible to know what is happening
in an environment that is literally out of sight.  In the case of waste produced
by exploration, the most damaging effects are those of drilling muds, which
contain volatile organic compounds, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, arsenic,
barium, lead, corrosive irons and Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials
(NORM), including radium 226 and other hazardous substances.   The drilling muds
are used to maintain downhole pressure, lubricate the oil bit, and pull cuttings
away from the wellhead.  When finished with, these toxic muds are sometimes 
disposed of by simply dumping them into the water column. 
Dumping drilling wastes into the water column, which reaches the seabed, the 
muds rob the water and bottom sediments of oxygen.  The result is that benthic 
(bottom-dwelling) life stops breathing.  It can also stop the feeding mechanisms
of organisms, and toxifies sediments.  As the water does not have enough oxygen 
to support marine life, over 30% of shellfish beds can be at risk of 
In 1993, a staff member from SAIN met with a representative of Unocal at their 
headquarters in Los Angeles and requested information from the company as to how
the company disposed of  wastes generated by exploration. The issue was left for
Unocal to respond in the form of a letter.  There has been no response from the 
company either verbally or in writing. 
Another form of waste generated by natural gas exploration is that of toxic 
brine.  This is seperated out and disposed of in enormous quantities.  This 
toxic substance is made up of hydrocarbons which have been extracted from 
reservoirs that include oil, natural gas, and water that is trapped along with 
the hydrocarbons in a formation called "produced water", as well as other gases 
and compounds.  Historically, the industry disposed of this toxic waste either 
by dumping it offshore, or re-injecting it into the well which was then brought 
to shore and discharged.  Produced water also contains NORM,  cadmium, lead, 
benzene, nepthalene, zinc, emulsified oil, and grease.
The dumping of this waste has a disastrous effect on wetlands, fish and 
wildlife, as well as polluting water supplies.
One offshore drilling rig produces daily emissions equal to 7,000 cars each 
driving 50 miles a day. The drilling rigs themselves also contribute to air
pollution. In the United States, the industry has been forced through the
mandate of the Clean Air Act 
Amendments of 1990, to formulate new requirements for the offshore industry. As 
a result stricter air emission regulations on offshore drilling have been 
implemented. Are the oil companies adhering to these standards practiced in the 
United States in their operations offshore in the Andaman Sea? And how are the 
citizens to know?
Rigs, both on-shore and offshore, deplete water supplies, which also contaminate
fresh water by land spreading and road spreading of  toxic drilling wastes.  
These wastes can seep into ground water supplies, streams and rivers. 
The wetlands and mangrove system that exist along the coast of Heinz Basin are 
under threat by the suffocation of benthic marine life.   It is quite possible 
that sediments in the area may soon sustain no benthic fauna due to the 
depletion of oxygen. 
With the introduction of the oil industry into the Andaman Sea, the impact, 
apart from toxic waste, is the threat to marine life.  From seismic surveys that
affect marine mammal life, to an increase in air and vessel traffic offshore, 
and truck and rail traffic onshore, the places, people and wildlife in Burma 
will be impacted by an industry that has left its own country due to increased 
regulations and laws.
The environmental impact of oil and gas exploration in the Andaman Sea if 
continued, will devastate marine life. Rivers and streams are being polluted
from silt and toxic muds.  The upgrading of roads and new infrastructure to
support the pipeline project, is being constructed in one of the last remaining
rainforests in S.E. Asia that survives in the Mon and Karen lands of the
Tennassarim Division.  The construction entails the clearing of forest, but it
will not stop there.  Concessions for commercial logging are rumored to be the
next stage once the pipeline has been built.  As in the past, illegal logging
by neighboring countries will probably occur which will devastate even further
a forest that has been used by local people as part of their survival for
All the oil companies currently operating in Burma need to disclose their 
environmental plans with regard to their practices in the country.  Where are 
the drilling muds and other toxic wastes going? How is it managed, and who is 
responsible? Are ethnic lands being used as a dumping ground, if so where, and 
for how long has this been happening?  These are only some of the questions that
arise that need answering.
The oil industry, through a massive global market, operates with many structures
that have national companies who receive contracts for technical support. These 
include surveying, drilling, construction, and maintenance.
In order to know where oil and gas is located companies will explore areas 
indicated by geological surveys. Holes are then drilled into the sea floor and 
samples taken.  A mobile drilling rig is used for this of which there are three 
possible types:
JACK-UP RIG:  This is a drill rig that is supported by a hull not unlike a 
barge. It can be towed or self propelled to the drill site and are restricted
to shallow water no more than 375 feet deep.
SEMI-SUBMERSIBLE:  This mobile drill rig is supported by pontoons which again
is either towed or self-propelled to the site. The legs of the pontoon are 
partially flooded by water for stability and allows the under-structure of the 
pontoon into the water to a pre-determined depth.  The vessel is then moored to 
the sea-bed or kept in position by motor driven thrusters. The semi-submersible 
operate in depths of 300-1500 feet.
DRILLSHIP: The drillship is self-propelled. Thrusters keep it in place during 
the process of drilling, or it is moored by anchor.  The deck of the ship is 
used for conducting the drill and internal compartments provide crew quarters 
and storage space.  It is the only rig that can operate in waters over 1,500 
feet deep. 
The samples taken by the drill gives information that reveals if there is any 
petroleum present in the various layers of rocks and mud fractured by a rotating
bit attached to hollow drill pipes rotated by a motor.
Once an oil company feels confident the oil and gas found in the exploratory 
stages will be economically recoverable, development is the next step. 
Imagine a structure the size of the Empire State Building attached to the ocean 
with support for petroleum recovery equipment above the water. These production 
systems are designed to be functional for an average 15-20 years.
Oil platforms are towed to the offshore site, placed upright and then attached 
to the ocean floor.  The deck is then placed in sections that are twice the size
of a football field.  This operation can take from several weeks to several 
months.  By the time installation of electrical wiring, pumps and generators are
in place the whole process from erecting the platform to actual use is many 
One of these platforms can drill 50-80 gas and oil wells. If drilling is 
directed as a slant, wells can be tapped more than a mile away and up to 10,000 
feet below the sea-bed.
When wells are drilled the process of breaking up layers of rock is 
done with the use of a bit.  This is attached by thirty foot lengths of pipe 
that are fitted together.  The deeper the pipe has to go the more pipe is added.
This whole assembly is called a drill string. 
As the operation progresses the hole that is being drilled is kept full of 
special drilling fluids.  These fluids are highly toxic and comprise of arsenic,
barium, lead, corrosive ions, volatile organic compounds, polycyclic 
hydrocarbons, and something defined as naturally occurring radioactive 
substances (NORM) that include radium 226, and other hazardous substances.
There is a mix of oil, gas, water and sediments from the sea bed that emerges 
from the well.  The next process is to separate the mixture so that the oil and 
gas can go to the refineries.  Usually the first stage of separation takes place
on the platform.
Oil comes in a variety of forms, the lighter the oil the less refining is 
needed. Gas also comes in different forms, wet or dry. Wet gas contains liquids,
condensable water vapours and hydrocarbon vapours that have to be treated.  Some
gas contains hydrogen sulphide and is known as sour gas which is odorous and can
be highly poisonous.
Oil is usually treated and stored at a plant onshore, however in some cases 
tankers that have been converted to process the crude, will take the oil from
a platform via pipelines that are laid under the seabed.  The tanker also 
processes the oil in order for transportation to take place to a refinery 
Natural gas contains corrosive and toxic hydrogen sulphide which must be 
removed. Processing gas will strip the impurities and valuable hydrocarbons in 
their liquid form. Ethane, butane, and propane from raw gas is removed before 
entering the commercial gas line.
The treated gas is then piped to a local or regional gas pipeline which 
distributes to a distribution owned by a gas utility company.  Crude oil which 
has been processed moves via pipelines to storage 
facilities.  From there the oil is directed into overland pipeline systems or
to a marine terminal for sea transport and tanker.
Pipelines are made of lengths of steel pipe that have been welded together. The 
exterior is coated with anti-corrosives to prevent deterioration in the metal. 
There is a pressure source for pumping the gas through the pipeline from one or 
more platforms and a larger pipe which is under the seabed connected to those 
onshore. Depending on the capacity and function the diameter of the pipeline 
varies.  A 250,000 barrel-a -day line measures twenty four inches in diameter.
Petroleum contains hydrocarbons that have various amounts of oxygen, sulphur, 
nitrogen, salt water and trace metals.  Oil needs to be refined before it is 
used in its various ways.  
Some crude oils and natural gas liquids are refined into petrochemical products 
such as toluene, benzene, and ethylene.
On average oil and gas platforms have a 10-20 year life span. This means that 
once it no longer becomes profitable for the oil companies to continue pumping, 
production stops.  Shutdown occurs. Platforms are dislodged with explosives, 
barged to shore, and cut up for scrap.  Divers go and cut the well casing off 
fifteen feet below the mudline and then seal the well with concrete.  The 
pipelines are left in place. Under current law in the United States the offshore
platform must be removed within one year after production halts.  There is no 
such law in Burma.
There is no doubt that foreign investment in Burma has played an important role 
in supporting the SLORC, in order to supply much needed hard currency, and its 
attempt to portray an image of impressing economic controls.  For many years 
activists have tried through various international human rights forums to 
highlight this reality and encourage foreign investors to divest from the 
country.  These efforts have,  till now met with little success.  However, as 
the SLORC continue to ignore international condemnation of their policies, 
interest has materialised regarding the increasing number of human rights and 
environmental abuses.  As international pressure increases, and the truth of the
SLORC's policies continue to be exposed, the many campaigns that focused on the 
situation are beginning to achieve successes.  One such campaign is the 
Coalition for Corporate Withdrawal from Burma. 
Included in the coalition are: the Institute for Asian Democracy, Interfaith 
Centre on Corporate Responsibility, Associates to Develop Democratic Burma, 
Sierra Club, Canadian Friends of Burma, Working Assets Common Holdings, Oil 
Chemical and Atomic Workers Union, Asian Human Rights Commission, and Burma 
Issues.  In 1993,  the campaign for divestment took a new turn, taking the fight
for democracy from war torn Burma into the corporate boardrooms of oil 
companies.  Led by Franklin Research and Development Corporation, a socially 
responsible investment firm, which drew on the strategy of struggle against 
investment in the apartheid economy of South Africa, the Coalition of groups was
formed.  In October last year, the Coalition  launched the campaign for the 
corporate withdrawal from Burma.
Since then, shareholder resolutions have been filed at four major companies 
investing in Burma; Texaco, Unocal, Amoco and PepsiCo.  The resolutions at 
Texaco and Unocal ask the companies to disclose extensive information on their 
operations in Burma, including an assessment of the environmental and human 
rights impact of each company's involvement in the proposed gas pipelines.
The  resolution aimed at Amoco asked the companies to terminate all business 
and financial ties to the SLORC and its affiliated businesses.  For PepsiCo the
resolution asks the company to withdraw from Burma".
These shareholder resolutions are under debate at the companies annual meetings 
currently being held through May and June. By filing resolutions the Coalition 
is able to bring pressure on these companies and at the same time  give 
concerned shareholders the  opportunity to address the company's top management,
in support of the Burmese people.
The Shareholder resolutions, together with other forms of pressure can work. 
On March 3, 1994 Amoco Corporation announced that it was withdrawing from Burma
and would not be exercising its contract obligations in Burma.  They will exit
the country before mid-year.
Amoco had described Burma as one the company's most promising areas of 
exploration just six months prior to its withdrawal from the country.  It was 
revealed by a reporter from Chicago that an Amoco official had privately 
conceded that the situation had become "a public relations nightmare", and that 
Amoco should have withdrawn from Burma months before.
Publicly, Amoco stated financial reasons for its rapid exit.  Given the 
economic chaos under the corrupt and incompetent management of the SLORC, 
financial stability for other oil companies to reconsider their investments
should also be a source of concern for their shareholders. 
The campaign against Amoco, one of the seven largest oil companies in the world 
started in 1990  with local environmental and religious groups in Chicago.  Many
people felt that to take on an oil giant with the limited resources available
to grass roots organisations, the objective of getting Amoco out of Burma was 
impossible. However, with a commitment that should be applauded these groups 
together with the Coalition, succeeded.  As the experience of sanctions and 
divestment against Apartheid has shown, it is such activities and not 
constructive engagement that can actually lead to development, and investment 
According to the Centre for Constitutional Rights in New York the answer is yes.
After a full review of the relationship between Amoco and the "illegal Burmese 
military dictatorship" their conclusions were "that Amoco could be held legally 
liable for deaths,  injuries, property damage or other harm arising out of your 
company's operations in Burma."
Given the information related to other oil companies, the same liabilities apply
to the offshore operations of Unocal, and Texaco, who have been informed of the 
military's actions, including forced labour and human rights abuses; actions 
that have provided protection and logistical support to their oil and gas 
operations.  According to the Center, there are some basic principles of US tort
law which can be applied in the case of the companies operating in Burma.  US 
law states that "each of us, whether a natural person or a corporation, is 
responsible for the reasonably foreseeable consequences of our actions, even if
those consequences involve the actions of athird party".
To translate, it means that when Unocal and Texaco entered into a contractual 
relationship with the SLORC, it was reasonably foreseeable that the SLORC would 
continue their abuses.  The companies can be held liable for harm that has 
resulted in their joint ventures with the MOGE which is in fact "government" 
run. In the case of Burma that "government" is the SLORC.
The Center also states that in the case that the company had not "requested 
assistance from the Burmese military, and had not requested that they kidnap, 
torture or kill people", the fact that their contract with the SLORC 
"contributes in a substantial way to ongoing human rights abuses and those 
abuses are reasonably foreseeable, then they are liable to the victims and their
Shareholder resolutions are 500 word proposals that are voted on by a 
corporation's shareholders on the basis of one share, one vote.   To file a 
resolution, a shareholder needs to have held US  $1,000 worth of the 
corporation's shares for more than one year.   The resolution is printed in the 
corporation's proxy statement and distributed to all shareholders.  The filer 
has the opportunity to speak in favour of the resolution at the corporation's 
annual meeting. 
There needs to be certain levels of support in order for this to work:
1st Year: when the resolution is introduced it needs to attract 3% of the vote 
in order to be reintroduced the following year.
2nd Year: the resolution needs to attract 6% of the vote to be reintroduced the 
following year.
3rd year: and every year after, the resolution needs to gain 10% of the vote to 
be introduced the following year.
If in any year, a shareholder resolution fails to gain the necessary percentage 
of the vote, then no resolution on the same subject can be introduced for three 
In the last weeks of writing this report Burma's war has escalated on several 
fronts.  From heavy battles in the Shan State to the Western Front of Arakan, 
ethnic nationalities are once again fighting for their survival against a major 
SLORC military offensive.  Civilians in Burma caught in the middle of the
fighting are trying to flee across the Thai-Burma border.  They are finding that
their only means of escape are being closed off by Thai authorities. This
represents a significant change in Thai policy.  The SLORC continues to promote
Burma as a secure place for sound investment.  Despite a mounting body of
evidence to the contrary, many people actually choose to believe this.  We hope
that this report will help open the eyes of  current, and potential investors
to the reality of a country at war, where any investment would be financially
unsound, and for those with a conscience, morally wrong.
Footnotes.  [In converting this document to ASCII, the footnotes have become
disassociated from their proper places and are produced here as endnotes.]
Bangkok Post
"Outrage", Bertil Lintner
The Nation
"Outrage", Bertil Lintner
"Outrage", Bertil Lintner 
  Bangkok Post 25/11/89
We wrote to all the oil companies involved in offshore exploration and out of 
6 oil companies only one replied.  Premier Consolidated Oilfields from the UK 
wrote "As to the specific questions which you pose, you will certainly 
understand that the way in which you have asked the questions are such as to 
imply a political position of your own or of the organization you represent. 
It has always been the policy of this company not to intervene in any way with
the political position or activi-ties related to countries where we hold
business interests".
The Manager
The Nation
OPEC Bulletin - May 1992, Myanmar:  A historical survey of its petroleum 
Catholic Times
The French Government owns 34% of "Total" and 40% of the company is state 
MOGE is part of the Slorc's Ministry of Energy.
Bangkok Post 21/7/92
The Nation
Mya Yadana, "Deadly Energy",
  GN 32
The Nation, 30/11/92
"Operation Dragon King", Burma issues - Sept 1993
Letter from Joseph Daniel to IRCC, March 25, 1994.  SAIN report on Pipeline 
April 1994.  Testimony from US human rights activists after field trip to Nat-Ei
Taung in 1993.
Letter to IRCC from "Total", March 25, 1994.
Information obtained through a US human rights activists who visited 
Nat-Ei-Taung late in 1993 and managed to have an interview with LtCol Han Tint 
from the 408 regiment.  The 408 regiment was located at Nat-Ei-Taung for 3-4 
months.  According to LtCol Han Tint, they would be returning to their 
headquarters 40 kms west and either Regiment 103 or 25 would come and replace 
them at Nat-En-Taung.  The regiments are changed every 3-4 months.  Also present
at the above meeting was a SLORC intelligence officer, Capt Kyaw Thu Naing.  
This information proved to be correct. As of the beginning of May, LIB 408 has 
been replaced by LIB 410 according to local sources, also in the beginning of 
may, pipes, machinery and appliances have been taken to Nat-Ei-Taung where a 
helicopter landing pad is being built.
"Concentration Camps", an eyewitness report from the Tennassarim Division, 
SAIN report on the Ye-Tavoy railway, March 1994.
Ye-Tavoy Railway Report - April 1994, Committee for Publicity Peoples Struggle 
in Monland.
Since February 1993, SLORC has deployed a number of troops into the areas around
and between Ye and Tavoy, the pipeline area.  Twenty battalions - LIBs 343, 401,
402, 403, 404, 405, 406, 407, 408, 409, 410, and Infantry battalions 25, 61, 
104, 106, and another 4 Light Infantry battalions (LIB) have been formed out of 
LIB 102.
ABSDF Report
Letter from the Committee of Human Rights Action for Indigenous Peoples (BURMA),
dated 21 October 1993.
Loh Loe camp has approximately 8,372 refugees and is situated south of 
Interview with officials from NMSP from SAIN staff.
These reports cannot be substantiated. However in the past Thailand has been 
used by SLORC troops to conduct military offensives against rebel camps situated
along the border. In early 1990, the former headquarters of the NMSP based at 
Three Pagoda Pass was attacked by SLORC troops who had been transported by 
logging trucks belonging to Khun Siahuk, a logging contractor with the Thai 
logging company Pathumthani. The attack was reported widely and information from
those at the scene included students from the ABSDF, NMSP and journalists 
visiting Three Pagoda Pass, confirms as to how the SLORC 
troops managed to attack from the rear.
Bangkok Post - 4/5/93
Bangkok Post - 29/9/93
Bangkok Post - 11/9/93
 A field investigator went to the new camp in March 1994 confirming the status 
of Holockany
Bangkok Post - 11/10/93
The Nation - 17/10/93
Bangkok Post - 18/12/92
NMSP, ABSDF sources to SAIN staff
See "Crude Awakening" Friends of the Earth May 1993.
The World Trade Organization, Trade and Environment, Position paper of the Third
World Network, March 1994
Official figures, however according to bankers and local diplomats, the figure 
is closer to 60% (Asian Wall Street Journal 25/4/94.
Asian Wall Street Journal 25/4/94
"Outrage", Bertil Lintner
San Francisco Chronicle, 2/3/94
"Crude Awakening", Friends of the Earth - May 1993
Philadelphia Inquirer, 11/2/93
US Department of Energy, Feb 1991
The official price of gas in October 1993 was 4 Kyats per liter. Car owners are 
rationed at 15 liters per week.  Most people have to buy fuel at the black 
market at US $0.60 per liter.  Most people buy their fuel from the Burmese Army.
Asia Inc. Burma's Road of Shame, October 1993.
"Natural Gas:  Bridging Fuel or Roadblock to Clean Energy?", a Greenpeace Report
ibid, GP report
ibid, GP report
Economic sanctions have been called for by Aung San Suu Kyi, the National 
Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB), the Democratic Alliance of 
Burma (DAB), and ten Nobel Peace Prize Laureates.
Remarks to the International Burma Congress, New York by Simon Billenness, 
Chairman of the Steering Committee for the campaign.  November 13, 1993.
"Amoco decides to call it quits in Burma", The Nation - 5/3/94
Franklin Research's Insight, 15/4/94
Letter to Amoco sent 23 October to H. Laurence Fuller, Chairman of Amoco.