Gas project leading to rights' abuse: Activists | india | Hindustan Times
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Gas project leading to rights' abuse: Activists

india Updated: Jul 14, 2006 12:57 IST

Myanmarese activists have accused Indian and South Korean companies of "indirectly" abusing their rights by investing in an offshore gas project in the country's western state of Arakan.

The Shwe Gas Movement, a group of Myanmarese campaigners in India, Thailand and Bangladesh, said a consortium of countries led by Daewoo International was indirectly responsible for human rights violations committed by the country's military regime.

The military, which has taken charge of protecting the oil exploration, is deploying soldiers and building new army bases along the pipeline route that will transport gas to other countries, including India and China, Mizzima News said quoting a report of the group titled "Supply and Command".

Kim, coordinator of the movement in India, said the military had used forced labour to build 15 new army bases along the proposed route in Arakan and Chin states.

"The Arakan and Chin people have already been suffering from human rights violations and if the project is implemented, the situation will go from bad to worse," said Kim.

South Korea's Daewoo International holds a 60 per cent stake in the A1 gas block with the Korea Gas Corporation holding 10 per cent and the Gas Authority of India and the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation jointly holding the remaining 30 per cent.

Once extracted, the gas is likely to pass through Chin state in western Myanmar and India's northeastern states of Manipur and Tripura.

Kim said land confiscations, rights violations and forced labour had already been reported in these areas.

The report said the military was likely to earn between $580 million to $824 million a year for 30 years under the gas contract.

Previous gas earnings have been directly linked with weapons purchases and have allowed the regime to maintain its iron grip on Myanmar, the group said.