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TOTAL Oil & Burma - New Report & Campaign

TOTAL Oil & Burma - New Report & Campaign

(CSRwire) LONDON - Today the Burma Campaign UK publishes a hard-hitting new report exposing how oil giant TOTAL plays a crucial role in funding and protecting Burma's brutal military dictatorship.

The report Totalitarian Oil - Total Oil: Fuelling the oppression in Burma, coincides with the launch of a global campaign against the company, supported by 41 organisations in 18 countries.

French oil giant TOTAL is the fourth largest oil company in the UK, and the fourth largest oil company in the world.

Key findings of the report include:

• TOTAL as the largest European corporate funder of the regime. The Yadana gas project, in which it is a partner, is believed to earn the regime between $200m to $450m a year.

• TOTAL's presence in Burma influencing French, European Union and British foreign policy on Burma, as France vetoes effective EU sanctions in order to protect TOTAL.

• Horrific human rights abuses committed in the region of TOTAL's gas pipeline by pipeline security forces.

• Arms sales closely linked to TOTAL's gas project. The regime used its first downpayment for gas exports to buy 10 MIG jets from Russia.

"TOTAL has done more than any other company to help prop up the regime in Burma," says John Jackson, Director of the Burma Campaign UK. "The French government is protecting TOTAL's interests in Burma by blocking tough EU sanctions against the dictatorship. The consequence of TOTAL's Burma operation is that the regime knows it is safe from any tough EU action." In 2004 France vetoed a proposed EU ban on new investment in Burma's oil and gas sectors in order to protect TOTAL's investment in the country. The USA banned new investment in 1997.

Paul Monaghan, Head of Sustainable Development at Co-operative Financial
Services, welcomed the new report. He said: "There are many oppressive regimes across the world; however, Burma presents a combination of circumstances that make a particularly compelling case for action. The Co-operative Bank and Co-operative Insurance Society (CIS) look forward to a progressive response from TOTAL and others involved in Burma."

Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Prize winner and leader of Burma's democracy movement, has repeatedly called on companies like TOTAL to leave Burma. She has said that: "TOTAL has become the main supporter of the Burmese military regime." Aung San Suu Kyi recently began her tenth year under house arrest. She is allowed no visitors, her phone line has been cut and post is intercepted. There is currently no prospect of her being released and fear is growing for her safety.

The new campaign against TOTAL dwarfs the scale of previous campaigns against companies in Burma. PepsiCo, Heineken, British American Tobacco, Triumph International & Premier Oil have all been forced to pull out of Burma following campaigns against them.

© Scoop Media

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