[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index
LA Times, AFP: US firm may be liabl
- Subject: LA Times, AFP: US firm may be liabl
- From: Winston_Lee@xxxxxxx
- Date: Fri, 18 Apr 1997 09:24:00
Subject: LA Times, AFP: US firm may be liable for Myanmar's human-rights abuses 04/18/97
APR 18 1997
US firm may be liable for Myanmar's
LOS ANGELES -- In a landmark ruling with implications for US companies
operating abroad, a federal judge has held that Unocal Corp can be
for human rights abuses allegedly committed by the government of
In denying Unocal's motion to dismiss a lawsuit by opponents of
regime, US District Judge Richard Paez said that the company's
military leaders for providing labour and security -- in spite of
allegations of forced labour and abuse -- would be akin to
"participation in slave
trading" if such abuses were proven in court.
Although it faces a vigorous appeal, the March 25 ruling is considered
victory for the opponents of the Myanmar regime.
Legal and human rights experts said that the ruling was the first in
which a federal
court has ruled that under international and US laws, American
be liable for human rights abuses committed by their partners in
Human rights activists said the win in this unusual civil case would
corporations on notice that they were answerable not only for their
overseas behaviour, but also for that of foreign companies they
Unocal is a partner with the state-owned Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise
US$1.2-billion (S$1.7-billion) pipeline project in that country.
Unocal also pays the government to provide labour and security on the
The judge ruled that another private-sector partner, the French oil
could also be held liable for Myanmar's actions.
Judge Paez's ruling came in a lawsuit filed here by activist lawyers
on behalf of
indigenous farmers in the Tenasserim region of Myanmar.
The suit contends that the farmers and their families were forced to
work on the pipeline project, beaten and otherwise abused by troops
to protect the project.
The plaintiffs want Unocal to withdraw from Myanmar and pay damages to
people living in the pipeline region.
Unocal has said repeatedly that it has investigated claims of forced
land confiscation in connection with the pipeline project, and found
Unocal President John Imle expressed disappointment in the ruling and
the company would fight the "false allegations" vigorously in court.
While dozens of US companies have pulled out of Myanmar in recent
Unocal has stood firm, making it a lightning rod in the debate over US
towards the country.
US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on Tuesday stepped up
the Myanmar leadership.
Noting Yangon's crackdown on political expression and jailing of
demonstrators, she said: "Myanmar leaders are on notice that, unless
of repression are lifted, they will face investment sanctions under US
A law passed last year allows President Bill Clinton to ban new US
in Myanmar if the country's military government arrests, harms, or
opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi or suppresses her followers on a
State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns called Mrs Albright's
stiffening of the American position". -- LA Times, AFP.
No more protests, Jakarta warns Megawati backers
Thai forces kill top separatist leader
You can send
a letter to the editor
Or post a tip-off or comment on news in
this section to the Foreign Desk.
Information to help you
live, work and play
| Singapore | Courts | Region | World | Cybernews | Sports |
| Perspective | Opinion | Lifestyle | Portfolio | Comics | About Us
| FAQ |
Copyright ? 1997 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights