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euroburmanet is now in downloading and upgrading on the net at
this includes the Total Boycott site. It is being updated now. We
decided that it should remain
and be constantly updated. When we took it down earlier this year, the
UVInet/euroburma site was averaging a million hits per month.
We had hoped it would not be necessary to put the site back up, but
TOTAL is continuing production on its pipeline through Burma into
Thailand, and supporting the drug junta in Rangoon, thereby encouraging
its grotesque partnership with the druglords pursuing ethnic genocide
against the peoples of the nation, while NLD activists and others remain
in prison. Unfortuately you know the story, but we need to bring it all
the more clear to TOTAL that TOTAL must withdraw from Burma and shut
down the pipeline.
Therefore, we strongly encourage all of you to send any information you
find on TOTAL to this site at <dawnstar@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>.
You will read below the general argumentation by TOTAL and its critics.
TOTAL strongly lobbied for the NFTC federal court decision striking down
the Massachussettes burma business ban law. They will be rejoicing now,
as the killing goes on, with their full and TOTAL endorsement.
TOTAL has to bear its responsibility in the destruction and rape of the
country and its resources in partnership with its dictator. Dictators,
after all, are easier to deal with then democracies. There is no fair
competition, just bribes and pay-offs. And today, in a money-bloodied
horror show, TOTAL's pipeline runs red in blood-money, and dope.
See check in and check up on the EBN and TOTAL Boycott site. And don't
forget to send what you think to the TOTAL people, now having a heyday
after their shared victory in the US federal court.
the following is from International Rivers Network
TOTAL: MAKING A KILLING IN BURMA
Total, a French oil company, is involved in a natural gas venture with
of the world's most brutal and repressive military regimes, Burma's
Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC). SLORC has received the
condemnations from the US Congress and State Department, the European
Parliament, the United Nations Human Rights Commission, the
Labor Organization, and Amnesty International. SLORC gains political
legitimacy and maintains financial solvency largely through partnerships
with foreign oil companies.
THE DEADLY DEAL
In February 1995, Total signed a contract with SLORC to extract and
transport natural gas using a pipeline from the Yadana Field located 43
miles off Burma's coast. The field is estimated to have a market value
$6.5 billion. Total with a 31.24% share is the operator of the
Total's other partners are Unocal with 28.26%, the Petroleum Authority
Thailand Exploration and Production Public Co. with 25.5%, and the
Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) with 15%. After the gas is flowing, Total
its partners will get $400 million annually from Thailand.
THE PIPELINE KILLING FIELD
The Total/Unocal gas pipeline will run for 218 miles, 41 miles cross
southern Burma's Tenasserim division to Thailand. The pipeline area is
homeland of the Karen, Mon and Tavoy peoples. This project is connected
some of Burma's worst human rights violations. The pipeline traverse
through a variety of ecosystems including dense tropical forest,
the habitat of rare animals such as tigers, rhinos and elephants. This
entire region is a war zone due to the ethnic peoples' need to defend
themselves against SLORC attacks, making the region highly unstable.
To begin pipeline and ancillary infrastructure construction, the
needed the SLORC troops to take control of the region. In the process,
thousands of people have been forcibly relocated with no compensation
the loss of their homes or farms, forced to work on road and railway
construction, forced to build military bases along the pipeline route,
forced to clear forest for the pipeline path, tortured, raped and
at the hands of the SLORC troops.
HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES
Since SLORC's invasion of the pipeline area, human rights abuses have
dramatically increased. A new report, Total Denial, by Thailand based
Southeast Asia Information Network (SAIN) and Earth Rights International
(ERI) documents the testimonies of villagers who are the victims of such
abuses. Both groups contend that because the SLORC security troops are
the region to protect the pipeline project, the companies must share
responsibility for the human rights violations committed by the SLORC
troops.ERI and SAIN report abuses such as arbitrary killings of
for suspected links to armed opposition groups, and failure to carry
military equipment. Additionally death resulting from insufficient food
medical care while forced to work, as well as rape and torture inflicted
SLORC security personnel.
SAIN, ERI and the Karen Human Right Group (KHRG) have independently
confirmed that forced labor is being used on the pipeline project
the company claims to the contrary. The KHRG reported in April 1996 that
villagers are taken by SLORC troops to build "pipeline roads", which
run alongside the pipe.
In February 1996, ERI interviewed a village who had be arrested by a
troop and ordered to work on the pipeline route, clearing trees and
leveling the ground, "He is one of seventy people who were seized from
their villages and forced to do this work which was ordered by Total,
carried out by SLORC." according to Total Denial.
"With the massive buildup of SLORC troops in the pipeline region has
the increased burden on villagers who must face the brutal violations of
their human rights when they are conscripted porters for troops charged
with protecting the project, company equipment and employees.." Total
Denial also reports, "Since the companies are directly responsible for
dozens of new battalions in the region, they cannot deny the charge that
their investment directly contributes to this very severe form of forced
labor in Burma."
Despite a mountain of evidence pointing out these types of human rights
abuses Total will not admit that these heinous crimes against the local
community are connected to the pipeline. In an article in the Feb/March
issue of Infrastructure Finance, Total attempts to "Teflon" themselves
these human rights abuses,
"I could not guarantee that the military is not using forced labor,"
Total's Chagneux. "All we can really guarantee is what we [ourselves]
doing, the contracts we make, the people we employ."
ERI interviewed a fifteen year old girl who fled to Thailand for
The young girl describes here forced conscription and refers to the
employees watching her work as "the English" (a term commonly used by
local people to describe white people) "...There were about forty of
While we were working there were two English guys watching us. They
wore shirts. I went to do this for three days and got paid two times.
the first two days, the English came and gave us 200 kyat for a day. A
Karen man gave us the money but the two English were watching. On the
third day, the soldiers came back and said, 'Your work yesterday was
good enough. You have to come back and work again. I don't dare refuse.
So we went and worked there again. But we didn't see any English and we
didn't get any money."
PIPELINE RELATED VIOLENCE
According to the KHRG, SAIN and ERI, on February 2, 1996 an unknown
group using rocket launchers attacked near Total's field office. In
retaliation, SLORC battalion Light Infantry Battalion #403 executed
Karen civilians. SLORC accused the villagers of supporting the
Other villagers were told by the battalion that they would come back and
kill more people if Total was informed of the retribution.
BENEFITS? INSULT TO INJURY
The corporations boast that the project will bring employment, education
and training, health care and useful technology for thousands of people.
Total claims to be implementing projects such as free medical services,
agriculture assistance, and to be paying fair wages for pipeline work.
minuscule amount of assistance pales when compared to the amount of
affecting the Mon, Karen and Tavoy people due to the endless cycle of
military-induced abuses in the area. Hundreds of thousands of Karen, Mon
and Tavoyans are seeking refuge in Thailand because of the forced labor
other SLORC brutalities in the pipeline area. This transient and
impoverished lifestyle is preferred over that of one where SLORC poses a
constant danger. There is little the oil companies can give to
for or replace the livelihood the local people once had.
Exploration, development and production of natural gas has similar risks
oil extraction activities. Impacts from gas exploitation include dumping
toxic drilling muds, (including radioactive materials), air pollution
drilling rigs, and toxic chemical releases such as hydrogen sulfide into
the sea and air. The ecology of the pipeline area is very diverse
from coastal wetlands to one of the last mountainous dense tropical
in Burma. Just south of the pipeline area, also in the Tenasserim
watershed, the Karen have established a protected wildlife sanctuary
contains tigers, rhinoceros, elephants and other rare species. Projected
environmental impacts from the pipeline include destruction t o wetlands
and mangrove ecosystems, forest clearing, fragmentation of habitat and
disruption of biological corridors, establishment of logging
and increased poaching of endangered species.
THE STRUGGLE FOR DEMOCRACY
In the late 1980s a growing democracy movement gained widespread support
from the entire spectrum of Burmese society, including its diverse
nationalities. In the summer of 1988 gunned down thousands of civilians
protesting for democracy. Soon afterward the military announced that
would rule the country. Years of ruthless and violent repression against
all citizens have been the result.
On May 27, 1990, SLORC held elections and the National League for
(NLD) gained 80% of the government seats. SLORC nullified the election
results and placed NLD leaders under arrest, including leader Aung San
Kyi. In 1991, Aung San Suu Kyi won the Nobel Peace Prize, but remained a
prisoner under house arrest until her release in July of 1995. Despite
Suu Kyi's release, widespread political repression, human rights abuses,
abject poverty, forced labor, and summary executions continue unabated.
INVESTING IN BURMA: ETHICAL?
In reference to oil company investment in Burma, Richard DeGeorge,
of the International Center for Ethics in Business at the University of
Kansas, said "One of the guidelines I would put out is that a company
should not knowingly cooperate with any supplier, government or other
enterprise that engages in slavery, slave labor, or even child labor.
Saying, 'We know they're doing it, but we're not doing it', doesn't let
off the hook. If you know it's being done, you're ethically responsible
"Foreign investment in most countries acts as a catalyst to promote chan
ge, but the Burmese regime is so single-minded that whatever money they
obtain from foreign sources they pour straight into the army while the
of the country is collapsing." Burton Levin, former U.S. Ambassador to
BURMA: THE SOUTH AFRICA OF THE 90s
On July 18, 1996, a video tape of democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was
smuggled out of Burma and shown to the European Parliament. In the tape
Suu Kyi said, "What we want are the kind of sanctions that will make it
quite clear that economic change in Burma is not possible without
change." In reference to fears that sanctions would ordinary Burmese,
said, "I think only people whom sanctions will affect are the privileged
Unlike Total, not all companies choose to remain in the dark about
abuses. Liz Claiborne, Macy's, Eddie Bauer, Reebok, Levi-Strauss,
Carlsberg, Amoco and Petro-Canada have all withdrawn their operations.
Levi-Strauss pulled out in 1992, stating, "...under current
it is not possible to do business in Myanmar without directly supporting
the military government and its pervasive violations of human rights."
"They need to be reminded that this is one of the most brutal
regimes in the world and putting money into the country now is
supporting a system that is severely harmful to the people of
-Aung San Suu Kyi in The Times.
In July 1996, a leading Danish pension fund sold its $10.45 million
of shares in Total, directly due to fears that Total's involvement with
the gas pipeline might lead to an international boycott of the
In support of Burma's democracy movement, we call on Total to withdraw
their from the gas pipeline project. All corporations should suspend
operations in Burma until a genuine democracy is in place.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Write or call the CEO of Total .
Tell them to withdraw from Burma
* Don't invest in Total stock, or sell your stock and tell them why
* Send $5.00 for our activist's packet to become more involved.
* Help support our effort by donating funds to IRN's Burma Project.
* Join the Free Burma Coalition
* Email for information on the French Total campaign.
SEND LETTERS TO:
Monsieur Thierry Desmarest
President et Directeur General, Total S.A.--
Total, 24 cours Michelet
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT
Free Burma - No Petro-dollars for SLORC
A project of International Rivers Network
1847 Berkeley Way
Berkeley, CA 94703
Email: freeburma@xxxxxxx Web-site: www.irn.org
The IRN site hosted by:
1847 Berkeley Way
Berkeley, CA 94703 USA
[International Rivephone (510) 848-1155
fax (510) 848-1008