You may be aware that some Total petrol stations and offices have been the focus of rcent protests concerning the Group's investments in Burma (also known as Myanmar).
Tota's decision to remain in Burma has been carefully considered. We are aware of the concerns of activists regarding the political situation there and the human rights in the country. We share these concerns.
This leaflet proves a clearer and more complete understanding of our decision to maintain a presense in Burma and we hope you will find it useful.
In 1992 Total signed a contract for the construction of an offshire gas production unit on Burma's Yadana Field and the instillation of a pipeline from the platform to the Thai border, via the Burmese mainland.
Total is open about its presence in Burma and does not try to avoid discussing its involvement in the Yadana project. We recognise the importance of listening to a spectrum of opinion, but take particular note of the views of local communities and the wider Burmese public.
In a spirit of opennes, we invite journalists and other independant observers to visit our Burmese sites to judge for themselves the impact of our activities. One of the conclusions invaribly drawn by such independant visitors is that it is better for the people of Burma that Total remains in the country, than withdraws.
Hope for the Future
Total considrs its operations in Burma very carefully. In addition to providing extensive social and economic support programs around health, infastructure and education in the regions in which we operate, we also develop and support socio-economic projects on a national basis.
We listen and pay great attention to the views of the 50,000 Burmese people who live in the villages along the Yadana pipeline route. What they tell us, and independant observers, is that they want Total to stay. They want to improve their quality of life, and believe the presence of Western companies like Total gives them hope for their future.
What works better in a country like Burma - sanctions or constructive engagement? Opinions on this vary but Total, in common with other European countries and international commentators, have opted to make a lasting commitment.
Out presence in Burma brings responsibility, but a decision to leave the country would entain similar responsibilities. If Total left burma, we would be replaced immediately with other operators who may not apply the same social or ethical standards.There would be no real impact on the State's revenues or on political debate, but there would be a negative impact on the Burmese people. As long as we believe our operations on the Yadana project contribute to the welfare of the pople of Burma, Total is commited to staying and demonstrating that our presence is more benificial than out absence.