May 23, 2022, Washington, D.C.–This week, Chevron’s shareholders will vote on a resolution that challenges the fossil fuel company’s partnership with the Myanmar (Burma) military. The shareholders that proposed the resolution are calling on the company to use arbitration proceedings as part of a responsible divestment strategy instead of treating the junta as a recognized government and legitimate business partner.
Since seizing power in a coup in February 2021, the Myanmar military has destabilized the region, pushed millions into a humanitarian crisis, and murdered more than 1,800 people, while more than 10,000 are currently detained. Profits from the Yadana offshore gas project, in which Chevron holds a major interest, are still funding the junta and fueling its human rights atrocities, despite Chevron’s announcing plans to withdraw from the country earlier this year.
EarthRights International Director of Strategy and Campaigns Keith Slack issued the following statement:
“Revenues from Myanmar’s offshore gas projects are the military junta’s largest source of foreign revenue, funding its atrocities. Chevron’s and other oil companies’ payments go to an illegal, criminal junta that has taken control of government bank accounts and is actively misappropriating state assets in order to fuel human rights abuses.
“EarthRights urges Chevron’s shareholders to approve a resolution on doing business with governments that are complicit in human rights abuses. Multiple Chevron shareholders have acknowledged that while its contracts are with the Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), the entity is nothing more than a government department; we urge Chevron to acknowledge that the junta is not a recognized government. Doing so enables it to rely on contractual obligations to divert revenues from the junta as part of a planned exit from Myanmar. It would also require Chevron to respect demands from Myanmar civil society not to bring in a new operator for the Yadana gas project if it will collude with the junta. As proposed by its own shareholders, the company should initiate international arbitration rather than persisting with its strategy of ignoring Myanmar’s National Unity Government and siding with a genocidal junta.
“Chevron’s irresponsible actions in Myanmar mirror a pattern we’ve seen worldwide. In 2008, EarthRights sued Chevron for human rights abuses at a protest site in Nigeria. In 2005, Chevron acquired Unocal, a company with a long track record of human rights abuses. Chevron has the moral, legal, and financial obligation to avoid fueling genocide and crimes against humanity. Since the coup began last year, human rights organizations worldwide have urged companies, including Chevron, to stop providing financial support to the Myanmar military.
“To actually live up to its tagline of the ‘Human Energy Company,’ Chevron needs to walk its talk. Its long history of undermining human and environmental rights and its support for the Myanmar junta shows us that it’s actually the ‘Anti-Human Energy Company.’ Chevron shareholders now have an opportunity and an obligation to stop fueling human rights abuses in Myanmar.”
Kate Fried, EarthRights International