Burma watchers demand pull out of Daewoo gas business from Burma

Philippine activists for Burma today urged the South Korean government to immediately withdraw Daewoo International’s gas business from military-ruled Burma, claiming that any business deal with the Burmese generals just result to more human rights abuses inside the country.

Philippine activists for Burma today urged the South Korean government to immediately withdraw Daewoo International’s gas business from military-ruled Burma, claiming that any business deal with the Burmese generals just result to more human rights abuses inside the country.

April 18 marks the International Day of Protest against Daewoo, with activists staging protests before the offices and stations of Daewoo International and the government of South Korea for their involvement in the controversial Shwe Gas Project, which has been criticized for destroying Burma’s natural resources and displacing the Arakan ethnic group.

Daewoo International, a South Korean conglomerate, agreed with Burma’s military regime and Indian corporations to explore the gas fields of Arakan State in Western Burma, said to have one of the largest gas deposits in Southeast Asia.

“Like any other business inside Burma, this gas project will just result in more human rights abuses in Burma including forced labor and forced relocation of communities. Worse, the peoples of Burma are not benefiting from the profits of any foreign investments inside their country. Governments and multi-national companies who do business in Burma are simply legitimizing a corrupt and illegitimate military regime,” said Gus Miclat, the regional coordinator of Asia Pacific
Solidarity Coalition (APSOC) and convenor of Free Burma Coalition-Philippines.

Miclat added: “We hope that these investors realize that it is immoral to do business with a military regime that doesn’t respect human rights. More than the possible destruction of Burma’s natural resources, they only become party to the exploitation of the peoples of Burma. We hope that these corporations or nations will value social responsibility more
than profit.”

News reports claim that the gas project is resulting in more and more refugees from Arakan State into Bangladesh and Thailand, as the junta confiscates farmlands from the ethnic people.

”While some countries are calling for a stop in human rights violations in Burma, some private companies profit from Burma’s natural resources at the expense of Burma’s suffering populace.” Miclat stressed.

Daewoo International is expected to earn a minimum of US $100 million in profits from the gas project annually for 20 years, from 2010 onwards. Burma campaigners even said that foreign investments in Burma have even enabled the military regime to expand its army.

Late last year, DAEWOO signed an agreement with three major investment partners — Korea Gas Corporation (KGC) and India’s two state-run developers, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Gas Authority India Limited (GAIL) — to jointly undertake the exploration of gas fields and construction of gas pipeline to India.

“A business deal with Rangoon generals would mean the murder of more ethnic people inside Burma. Please do not draw blood for your oil,” the APSOC coordinator concluded.

FOR INQUIRIES:
Mr. Gani Abunda (63-82) 435-2900/ 911-0205 (Manila)

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