Social Responsibility of Multinational Companies in Burma

March 8, 2010

ASEAN, China and other countries have expectations for Burma’s 2010 elections because these governments’  leaders are concerned about being able to invest in Burma for trade or exploitation of natural resources.

During 1993, when multi-national gas and oil companies such as France’s Total and the US’s Unocal came and invested in Burma, they did not demonstrate their social responsibility towards the local people, by respecting their human rights, their property rights, their culture, their traditions and or their livelihoods.  Thousands of ethnic villagers were forced to work as unpaid labor on the gas pipeline projects and related security activities.  Thousands were forced out of their homes and villages because of the increased military conflict and human rights abuses related to gas pipeline security.

What will happen after the 2010 elections? In all likely events there will be a military and civilian government formed; the Burmese Army will still remain in a key position to strengthen its troop numbers to affect national security.  Whenever new investment in Burma occurs after 2010, the troops of the Burmese Army will take responsibility for security in anyway they want, especially in ethnic regions on various projects of dam construction, pipeline construction, hydro-power development, timber harvesting, mining rights, etc.

According to past experience, the Burmese Army has committed gross human rights violations while providing support security for investment projects, so it is likely that it will do the same in the future after 2010.

Therefore, the Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM), which has been monitoring the situation along the Yatana and Kanbauk-Myaingalay gas pipeline for over 10 years, wants to remind the multi-national investment companies to perform their social responsibility when investing in Burma, whether the new government is formed after 2010 elections, or not.


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