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Energy Security: Security for Whom? Hydrocarbons and Human Rights in Military-ruled Burma

Colloquium with Matthew F. Smith and Naing Htoo, EarthRights International, Southeast Asia

Tuesday, March 11, 2008
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
10383 Bunche Hall
UCLA Campus
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Photo: Site of Yadana Gas Pipeline. Courtesy of EarthRights International.

While the energy industry has performed a remarkable feat in delivering energy to a large percentage of humankind in a relatively short period of time, the benefits of resource production often evade the least advantaged actors, who bear the brunt of the negative impacts.  In Burma, also referred to as Myanmar, large-scale natural gas projects have directly and indirectly led to violations of basic human rights through the complicity of multinational corporate actors.  These abuses are ongoing. 

This paper assesses the past, present, and future human rights impacts of large-scale natural gas extraction in military-ruled Burma, and the implications these impacts have in terms of corporate responsibility.  Specifically, it focuses on the ongoing human rights impacts of the Yadana gas project in Burma operated by Chevron (USA), Total (France), and PTT (Thailand), and the threat of future human rights impacts of the Shwe gas project in Burma led by Daewoo International (South Korea).

Naing Htoo is a Program Coordinator with the Burma Project of EarthRights International, based in Thailand. He is a Karen man and a graduate from the EarthRights School-Burma. He has worked with ERI Southeast Asia for over ten years, coordinating field research and documentation of human rights abuses in Burma, particularly surrounding development projects. Naing Htoo provides trainings to human rights advocates on fact finding and documentation of human rights abuses, and his research and fact-finding has reached key policymakers at the International Labour Organization, the United Nations, and various governments around the world. He coordinated much of the fact finding that formed the basis of the lawsuit Doe v. Unocal Corporation. Naing Htoo speaks Skaw Karen, Thai, Burmese, and English.

Matthew F. Smith is a Project Coordinator of the Burma Project of EarthRights International, based in Thailand. He focuses on human rights and environmental issues connected to the oil, gas, and mining sectors in Burma, and conducts research and international advocacy with local activists from Burma. Prior to ERI, he worked with Kerry Kennedy on Speak Truth To Power, a project of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights. He received a B.A. from Le Moyne College and a M.A. from Columbia University.  

Cost : Free and open to the public.


Sponsor(s): Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Asia Institute

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