Alleged human rights abuses by soldiers guarding a Burmese pipeline have revived old questions about pipeline co-owner Chevron’s relationship with the military dictatorship that hosts it.
The activist group EarthRights International says it has interviewed villagers near the Yadana Pipeline who claim government troops working for Chevron have killed local residents, and used others as slave labor.
The pipeline brings in $969 million annually for the Myanmar junta. Marco Simons, the EarthRights legal director, told the San Francisco Chronicle that Chevron has a “moral responsibility” to shut down the pipeline, pressuring the dictatorship to end the abuses.
Chevron, however, says the charges are unfounded. Citing research by CDA Collaborative Learning Projects of Cambridge, Mass., a nonprofit consultancy for international aid organizations.
CDA’s February 2008 report was developed in partnership with Total, the French oil company and a major shareholder in the pipeline.
It was the fifth report in as many years, and found widespread support for social services provided to regional villages offered by Total.
An EarthRights spokesman suggested that the villagers CDA interviewed — 75 in all — might have been afraid of being open to foreigners, and said that his organization works with Burmese nationals, some of whom have been studying rights abuses in the region for more than a decade.
“Killings alleged at Chevron’s Burma pipeline”
San Francisco Chronicle, April 29, 2008
“The Burma Backstory: How Fossil Fuels Keep the Junta in Business”
Newsdesk.org, September 26, 2007
“Energy Giants Sued for Third World Violence: Doe v. Unocal”
Newsdesk.org, May 13, 2002
“Total Myanmar/Burma: Yadana Gas Transportation Project, Visit V”
CDA Cooperative Learning Projects, February 2008