Total Boycott

Burma is ruled by one of the most brutal and corrupt regimes in the world with over two million people in forced labour and about 1500 political prisoners. The International Labour Organisation, a United Nations agency, charge Burma's regime with "crimes against humanity" for its widespread and systematic use of forced labour. The ILO describes how men, women, children and the elderly are forced to work on roads, railways and other construction projects, facing punishments which include money demands, physical abuse, beatings, torture, rape and murder.

Amnesty International noted, "[Burma's] military government... routinely seizes thousands of ethnic minority civilians, including women and children, to work against their will and without pay to build so-called development projects such as roads and military installations. Members of... ethnic minorities... are forced to contribute their labour - many must spend so much of their time working for the military that they cannot support themselves and their families."

In 1995, Total Petrol Co. signed an agreement with Burma's military government to export gas using a pipeline in the Yadana Field. After years of forced relocation and forced labour, this pipeline has been finished. But child and forced labour is still being used in the area to build roads to service the pipeline and also to support the military installations "protecting" it.

Total is the main investor in Burma. It supplies a constant flow of hard currency to a regime routinely condemned by Amnesty Inter-national, the UK government and by the UN for its massive human rights abuses. These include arbitrary execution, political imprisonment and serious physical and sexual assault.

Total has the power to change this. We ask you to boycott Total until they use their influence for posi-tive change or withdraw from Burma. This can work! Pepsi withdrew from Burma due to consumer pressure. A Danish pension fund has sold its $10.45 million worth of shares in Total due to fears that Total's involvement with the pipeline might lead to a boycott.

Take Action

Write a (short) letter expressing concern about their involvement in Burma to Total, Customer Service, 33 Cavendish Square, London W1M 0EX.
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(c) Networking Newsletter (June/July 2000)