Conflicts & War

Australian oil company leaves Myanmar over human rights dip

Sydney, Australia, Jan 27 (EFE).- Australian company Woodside Petroleum announced Thursday its departure from Myanmar due to the deterioration of human rights after last year’s military coup, which plunged the country into a political, economic and social crisis.

Woodside, which follows in the footsteps of the multinationals Chevron and Total Energies, has a 40 percent stake in a gas project in Myanmar, where it works with the state-owned Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise, controlled by the military since the uprising.

“Woodside has been a responsible foreign investor in Myanmar since 2013 and our conduct is guided by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and other relevant international standards,” Woodside CEO Meg O’Neil said in a statement.

The Australian company said the decision would mean a drop in its net profit of about $ 138 million in 2021, to which is added the $ 71 million for costs of a Myanmar exploration project.

Woodside’s decision comes after French group TotalEnergies and American multinational Chevron announced last week their respective departures from Myanmar, considering their stay would mean financing the military junta that has brutally repressed dissent.

In a recent report, Human Rights Watch said Myanmar coup forces committed crimes against humanity by shooting civilians to death, committing rape and persecuting opponents, among other abuses.

According to the Myanmar NGO Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners, almost 1,500 people have died due to the violent repression of the military, which has imprisoned more than 11,700 opponents.

HRW said in its report that the European Union, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom have approved sanctions against military leaders and their companies, but not against oil and gas companies that annually generate more than $ 1 billion in foreign income for the junta. EFE


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