Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

October-03-02

Unocal Liable For Human Rights Abuses Abroad

A federal appeals court ruled recently that Unocal, the giant US oil company based in California, may be held legally responsible for forced labor, rape and murder committed by Burmese soldiers during the construction of a major Unocal gas pipeline project completed in 1999. The decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturns a ruling two years ago by a federal judge who said that although Unocal may have “known about the abuses” there was no evidence of their “active participation,” according to United Press International.

A lawsuit was originally filed against Unocal in 1996 by EarthRights and the Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of 15 unnamed Burmese plaintiffs. The suit, which was refiled recently in Los Angeles County Superior Court, alleges that Burmese soldiers charged with guarding the $1.2 billion Yadana pipeline forcibly relocated villages, drafted villagers into forced labor and committed murder, torture and rape against people of the Karen and Mon ethnic minorities living in or near the route of the pipeline, according to Inter Press Service. The plaintiffs argue that Unocal should be held liable for the abuses committed by the soldiers, who were part of a notoriously repressive military regime, because they were hired by the company to provide security. “Because Unocal knew the acts would probably be committed, it became liable as an aider and abettor when such acts of violence – specifically murder and rape – were in fact committed,” the court said according to Inter Press Service. A trial is now scheduled to begin Feb. 4 in Los Angeles.

Human rights lawyers are saying that the judgment “marks a major milestone” in holding corporations accountable for human rights abuses tied to their activities abroad, according to Inter Press Service. Other similar cases are pending against Royal Dutch Shell for alleged abuses committed by the Nigerian Army against the Ogoni people in the Niger-Delta, against ChevronTexaco by indigenous people in Ecuador for destroying their land with oil leaks and toxic waste and against ExxonMobil for abuses committed by Indonesian security forces in Aceh province, according to Inter Press Service.

Media Resources: United Press International 9/19/02; Inter Press Service 9/20/02


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost. The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
 
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot. SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy." "We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event. SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
 
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1. The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .