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Unocal human rights case to be reheard

Date: 15 Feb 2003

Unocal Corp has been given another chance to oppose a lawsuit proceeding against the company alleging human rights abuses in Myanmar.

The claim against the company comes from villagers who state that Unocal supported military abuse against them. Soldiers who provided security at Unocal's Yadana natural gas pipeline were said to have subjected local people to forced labour, rape, murder and torture.

A court hearing last year had previously ruled that the case, involving 18 farmers who alleged they had personally suffered abuse, could proceed to trial. The court is now to review this in a hearing with 11 judges.

The case may establish whether American companies can be held to accound for human rights abuses abroad.

Unocal has stated that it did not authorise nor condone the actions of the military. On its website, it states "At Unocal, respect for human rights is fundamental in all of our activities. We strive to convey this respect through our employment, economic development, environmental, security, and community practices."

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