The Burma Campaign UK today welcomed the climbdown by TOTAL Oil – which was being sued in French courts over its involvement in forced labour in Burma. Total has agreed to set up a £3.5 million humanitarian fund in an out of court settlement. Horrific human rights abuses were committed during the construction of TOTAL’s pipeline in Burma.
“It is a humiliation for TOTAL” said Yvette Mahon, Director of the Burma Campaign UK. “It shows that they are feeling the pressure of the international campaign to persuade them to pull out of Burma. If they think that this agreement will help take the pressure off, they are making a big mistake.”
Campaigners pledged that the settlement would have no impact on the campaign to get TOTAL to withdraw from Burma. TOTAL face the largest campaign against any company operating in Burma, active in more than 18 countries. The company has also been facing pressure from investors.
“The £3.5 million humanitarian fund is tiny compared to the hundreds of millions of dollars that TOTAL pumps into Burma’s military dictatorship”, said Mahon. “The figures are so high TOTAL is too ashamed to release them.”
Political pressure on TOTAL is also growing, with 153 MPs backing an Early Day Motion demanding TOTAL withdraw from Burma.
French oil giant TOTAL is the fourth largest oil company in the UK, and the fourth largest oil company in the world.
On Sunday the regime in Burma extended democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s detention for a further year.
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