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UNOCAL May Face Lawsuit In U.S. On

Subject: UNOCAL May Face Lawsuit In U.S. On Myanmar Ties

>From the Japan Times: 18 April 1997 (Business: Overseas)


Los Angeles Times 

LOS ANGELES ? In a little-noticed but  landmark  ruling  with enormous
implications for U.S. companies operating abroad, a federal judge ruled that
Unocal Corp. can be held liable for human rights abuses allegedly committed
by the government of Myanmar.

 The ruling is the first in which a federal court has ruled that under
international and U.S. laws, U.S. companies could be liable for human rights
abuses committed by their partners in another country, according to legal
and human rights experts.

Human rights activists said a win in this unusual civil case would put
corporations on notice that they are answerable not only for their own
overseas behavior but for that of foreign companies they align themselves with.

Though it faces a vigorous appeal, the ruling by U.S. District Judge Richard
Paez of Los Angeles is considered a crucial victory for the opponents of the
regime that has ruled the nation formerly known as Burma since 1988.

Unocal is a partner with the state-owned Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise in a
controversial $1.2 billion pipeline project in that country. Unocal pays the
government to provide labor and security on the project.