Human rights protests target Chevron

The World

Protesters from four continents gathered outside Chevron’s headquarters in California where inside the company was holding its annual shareholders conference. THe protesters presented a new report from a human rights NGO which documented Chevron’s role in Myanmar where it owns a stake in a natural gas pipeline. This woman is from Myanmar and has problems with how the profits from the pipeline prop up the military regime, and the other is that the oil company depends on the Burmese military for security which leaves the local population vulnerable to abuse. The report also claims that the Burmese military is engaged in ongoing rape, violence and murder. Chevron acquired a stake in the Burmese pipeline in 2005 when it bought another company which had already been sued for human rights abuses. Today this protester says Chevron should at least condemn the Burmese military for its past abuses. Inside, this Chevron official said it’s not their habit to make political statements. Chevron owns 28% of the natural gas projects in Myanmar. Chevron says it won’t sell its stake and says it is a force for good in the country, citing their efforts to help victims of the recent natural disaster there and aiding development programs along the pipeline regions as well. Chevron says if it sells its stake, another company perhaps from China will just take its place. This Australian professor says that may be true but that still doesn’t change the facts on the ground in Burma today. at the moment, Chevron is just facing public pressure, but in Ecuador the company is facing a lawsuit claiming it has allowed the dumping of toxic waste into public waterways, and the company is also the subject of legal action in Nigeria for human rights abuses. The lawsuit claims Nigerian police opened fire on a crowd of protesters killing two and wounding many. Again Chevron sees things differently. This attorney says the protesters illegally seized a Chevron barge and its crew. Chevron says the Nigerians are trying to extort money from the company. The case will be heard not in Africa but in a US court under an obscure statute. If ruled against them, Chevron would be the first to be found guilty under the statute.

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