Total and Chevron Fuel Human Rights Abuse in Burma

“We can no longer do farming around our village because we don’t have existing land [anymore],” said one villager whose land was confiscated by Total and Chevron’s security forces. - ©  ERI© ERI

EarthRights International (ERI) released two reports today linking oil giants Total and Chevron to forced labor, killings, high-level corruption and authoritarianism in military-ruled Burma (Myanmar). For the first time, ERI reveals that the military regime is hiding multi-billion dollar revenues from natural gas sales in two offshore banks in Singapore.

Based primarily on over two years of research, the first report, entitled Total Impact: The Human Rights, Environmental, and Financial Impacts of Total and Chevron’s Yadana Gas Project in Military-Ruled Burma (Myanmar) explains that Total and Chevron’s Yadana gas project has generated US$4.83 billion dollars for the Burmese regime. The 110-page report explains how the regime would have excluded at least US$4.80 billion dollars of that revenue from the country’s national budget.

As a result of this revenue, Total and Chevron are a “leading external factor contributing to the regime’s intransigence” and a primary reason why international and domestic pressure on the SPDC has to date been ineffective, according to ERI.

“Total and Chevron claim abuses have stopped in connection to their project but it’s simply untrue,” said ERI Program Coordinator Naing Htoo, another principal author of the reports and coordinator of ERI’s investigations in Burma. “Forced labor, killings and other abuses are being committed by Total and Chevron’s security forces while the companies mislead and lie to the international community about their impacts.”

Focusing on the many misrepresentations of the Yadana Project is another new report from ERI, entitled Getting it Wrong: Flawed “Corporate Social Responsibility” and Misrepresentations Surrounding Total and Chevron’s Yadana Gas Pipeline in Military-Ruled Burma (Myanmar). Based on seven years of research, this 84-page report describes Total and Chevron’s public relations endeavors, including impact assessments commissioned by the companies since 2002. ERI presents evidence proving that Total lied to the public when it claimed that the International Labour Organization (ILO) certified that the company eradicated forced labor in its project area. The ILO made no such statements and has publicly disavowed the claim as untrue and inaccurate.

You can read more and find the two reports at: http://www.earthrights.org/content/view/693/114/

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Victims of the Downturn?

The American magazine “Fortune” has just published its online ranking of the world’s largest corporations according to their annual revenue. Shell took first place over last years leader Wal-Mart, and there is no surprise to see that once again petroleum companies dominate – occupying 6 of the 10 first ranks. And if General Motors “disappeared”, Toyota Motor took 10th position. Do you think their fortune will create employment; be invested in developing sustainable energies and reducing CO2 emissions; or simply help them make more money? We’ll let you draw your own conclusions…

Rank

Company Revenues ($ millions) Profits ($ millions)

1

Royal Dutch Shell

458,361

26,277

2

Exxon Mobil

442,851

45,220

3

Wal-Mart Stores

405,607

13,400

4

BP

367,053

21,157

5

Chevron

263,159

23,931

6

Total

234,674

15,500

7

ConocoPhillips

230,764

-16,998

8

ING Group

226,577

– 1,067

9

Sinopec

207,814

– 1,961

10

Toyota Motor

204,352

– 4,349

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/global500/2009/full_list/

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