The French group believes that his departure would expose its workers to reprisals and is committed to funding human rights NGOs, up to what it pays to the Burmese regime.
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He stays. The French oil group Total announced on Sunday April 4 that it was maintaining its controversial presence in Burma, where the crackdown on the military coup has already claimed hundreds of lives. More than 550 civilians, including women and children, have been killed by security forces since the February 1 coup that overthrew the civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi, according to the Association for Assistance to Prisoners politicians (AAPP), which specifies that the toll could be much heavier: some 2,700 people have been arrested.
Faced with the constant deterioration of the situation, international and local NGOs, supported by certain politicians in France, called on Total, present in Burma since 1992, to leave the country. The company will maintain its production of gas which “supplies electricity to a large population in Yangon”, the economic capital, its CEO, Patrick Pouyanné said on Sunday. The group does not want to expose its employees on site to the risk of “forced labor” if he left.
Total paid around $ 230 million to the Burmese authorities in 2019 and 176 in 2020, in the form of taxes and “production rights”, according to its financial documents. Blocking our payments would expose “the managers of our subsidiary at the risk of being arrested and imprisoned”, estimated Patrick Pouyanné in a column published in the French weekly Sunday Newspaper. He has pledged to fund human rights NGOs up to what he will pay to the Burmese state.