Mr Patrick Pouyanné, TOTAL must stop funding the junta in Burma

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Total carries out 0.5% of its international operations in Burma (Myanmar). The exploitation of gas fields allows the French multinational to generate annual profits in the order of 76 million euros. But its activities have very serious consequence: they bring more than 220 million euros per year to the military junta that commit a bloodshed to quell democratic protests.

Total is, therefore, a major purveyor of financial resources to the Army generals who savagely suppress a popular revolt against the February 1st coup and confiscate civil liberties.

Total established itself in Burma in the 1990s in the midst of the military junta. In 2005, Total had to compensate Burmese victims of forced labour on the Yadana site, to avoid legal prosecution. Today, Total is once again funding the junta in defiance of the will of the Burmese people.

Thus, the CRPH, a committee representing elected parliamentarians and recognized by the Burmese population as its legitimate representative, sent a letter on 5 March 2021 to the CEO of Total strongly asking oil companies operating in Burma to cease all their business relations with the Burmese army. The people’s representatives are calling the freezing of payments to the junta until the restoration of the democratically elected government.

Indeed, Total is the main shareholder and operator of the Yadana field and it pays a colossal rent to The Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE). This opaque state-owned company is now under the direct control of the junta, which buys Chinese, Russian, Israeli and North Korean weapons to suppress protests and attack ethnic minorities.

Total said it was "concerned" by this situation, but the company is trying to justify maintaining its presence on "contract" grounds, whilst it’s Australian partner, Woodside, has decided to suspend its offshore operations due to the crackdown.

Since February 1st, millions of Burmese men and women have been demonstrating every day against the military junta, which responds with violence, arrests, torture, rape and intimidation. A demonstration even took place in front of the site operated by the consortium led by Total to demand its withdrawal. The Burmese army, already guilty of the massacres of the Rohingya Muslim minority and others ethnic minorities, is now responsible for the murders of hundreds of democratic protesters.

According to the UN Special Rapporteur on Burma, the ongoing killings, persecutions, arrests and arbitrary executions probably fall under the category of Crimes against Humanity.

An entire Nation is now in the street, looking to see who stands by it’s side. The Burmese will not forget those countries and companies which have supported them. Any company operating in Burma must be aware of it. Today, Total and the other multinationals, have to choose: stand with the population or stand with the regime that oppresses it.

We call Total to block any payment to the military junta until the country is ruled by the democratically elected civilian government.

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