EarthRights International Statement Regarding ChevronTexaco's Acquisition of Unocal

EarthRights International is calling on ChevronTexaco to respect the spirit of the Burmese democracy movement and of U.S. sanctions against by Burma by shedding any stake in the Yadana gas pipeline acquired in the purchase of Unocal Corporation.

“Neither the local people nor the people of Burma as a whole will benefit from ChevronTexaco’s presence,” says Ka Hsaw Wa, Executive Director of EarthRights International and an ethnic Karen from Burma. “The Yadana pipeline has been a human rights nightmare and no company should be involved in it.”

On April 4th,  ChevronTexaco announced its plans to acquire Unocal for $18.4 billion, including Unocal’s minority stake in the Yadana pipeline. This acquisition came just two weeks after the historic agreement by Unocal to compensate the plaintiffs in the landmark lawsuit Doe v. Unocal, which challenged Unocal’s complicity in gross human rights abuses associated with the Yadana pipeline in Burma. EarthRights International was co-counsel in that case.

During the construction of the Yadana pipeline, the Burmese military conscripted, raped, relocated and murdered villagers living in the area. Human rights abuses in the region continue today, because of the militarization of the area by an army known for its brutal methods.

Notes:

  1. Federal sanctions in the U.S. prohibit new investments in Burma, but Unocal’s Yadana investment was grandfathered in. Burma’s democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has consistently called on foreign companies to leave Burma so as not to support the repressive military junta that rules the country. U.S. Campaign for Burma
  2. The French company Total is the majority owner of the Yadana pipeline; the other members of the consortium are the Thai electricity authority and the Burmese military. Total is also the target of a campaign for divestment (The Burma Campaign UK) from Burma by human rights groups.
  3. EarthRights International is co-counsel in Bowoto v. Chevron, a lawsuit alleging corporate complicity in human rights violations by the Nigerian military.