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Burma: NGOs say oil companies' involvement supports repression by govt., urge withdrawal - statements by Chevron, Total

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Article
28 September 2007

As Myanmar cracks down on protesters, oil companies keep up controversial ties

Author: Canadian Press

Even as Myanmar's military junta intensifies its crackdown on pro-democracy protests, oil companies are jostling for access to the country's largely untapped natural gas and oil fields that activists say are funding a repressive regime... China - Myanmar's staunchest diplomatic protector and largest trading partner - is particularly keen on investing in the country... Total SA and...Petronas, currently pump gas from fields off Myanmar's coast... This week's bloody clampdowns...have escalated the activists' calls for energy companies to pull out... [In] the Yadana gas field, and Chevron Corp. has a 28 per cent stake through its takeover of Unocal... "Far from solving Myanmar's problems, a forced withdrawal would only lead to our replacement by other operators probably less committed to the ethical principles guiding all our initiatives," Jean-Francois Lassalle, vice-president of public affairs for Total Exploration & Production, said... Chevron's interest in the Yadana project is "a long-term commitment that helps meet the critical energy needs of millions in people in the region," said Nicole Hodgson, corporate media adviser for Asia. [also refers to PTTEP (PTT), Daewoo International, China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC), China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (Sinopec), ONGC Videsh]

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Article
28 September 2007

[PDF] Letter to Chevron CEO David O'Reilly

Author: John J. Sweeney, President, AFL-CIO [USA]

I strongly urge you to speak out immediately against this week's brutal crackdown by the Burmese military... Chevron's silence...makes it difficult to take seriously Chevron's position that Chevron should remain in Burma because Chevron is a more responsible corporate actor than alternative possible corporate partners... Chevron also funds a trade association, the US-ASEAN Business Council, which lobbies the U.S. administration and Congress against the imposition of economic sanctions on Burma... We expect Chevron to state publicly its opposition to the US-ASEAN Business Council's position against economic sanctions on Burma or simply stop funding this lobbying group. [also refers to Unocal (part of Chevron), statement by former Reebok CEO Paul Fireman]

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Article
27 September 2007

[PDF] Letter to Chevron CEO Dave O'Reilly

Author: Ka Hsaw Wa, Executive Director of EarthRights International

We urgently request that you use your presence in Burma to pressure the military regime to respect human rights... In your policy on corporate responsibility you recognize that your presence in the countries in which you operate is not neutral; you clearly state that you condemn human rights abuses; and you clearly state your belief that companies can play a positive role in contributing to the protection and promotion of human rights. If there were ever a time to put this policy into action in Burma, it would be now.

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