French oil giant TotalEnergies withdraws from Myanmar over “aggravated” human rights abuses

The French oil giant TotalEnergies said on Friday that it would withdraw from Myanmar due to “aggravated” human rights violations committed since the country’s military took power in a coup in February 2021.

“The situation, in terms of human rights and more generally the rule of law, which has worsened in Myanmar … has led us to re-evaluate the situation and no longer allow TotalEnergies to make a sufficiently positive contribution to the country.” said the company.

Total will withdraw from its Yadana gas field in the Andaman Sea, which supplies electricity to the local Burmese and Thai people, no later than six months after the end of the agreement period.

The company said it had not identified any way to sanction the military junta without avoiding stopping gas production and tracking payments to the military-controlled Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE).

About 30 percent of the gas produced at Yadana is sold to MOGE for domestic use, which provides about half of Yangon’s largest city, according to Total.

International diplomatic pressure and sanctions have built up against Myanmar’s military junta since last year’s coup ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The European Union has imposed targeted sanctions on Myanmar’s military, its leaders and units, while Norwegian telecom operator Telenor this week sold its stake in a Burmese digital payment service due to the coup.

More than 1,400 civilians have been killed when the military cracked down on dissent, according to a local monitoring group, and many anti-junta militias have grown up around the country.

Suu Kyi was sentenced this month for three criminal charges and sentenced to four years in prison and now faces five new charges of corruption.

(AFP)

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