WASHINGTON, April 17 (Korea Bizwire) — Energy giant Chevron is under fire for its decision to continue to support the Myanmar military, which has killed more than 700 people, including at least 47 children. On Friday, half a dozen demonstrations took place in cities around the US organized by the International Campaign for the Rohingya, SumOfUs, and many other groups — in San Francisco, LA, Houston, Denver, New York and Washington DC.
Photos/videos of the DC event can be found here at the SumOfUs flickr:
Outside Chevron’s offices in DC, Chevron’s new DC lobbyist Craig Hall was depicted on a piñata which protesters took turns batting. A mobile billboard was parked outside Chevron’s office for several hours on Friday, shaming the company for their continued support of the brutal military regime.
Simon Billenness, Executive Director of the International Campaign for the Rohingya said: “As the largest US investor in Myanmar, Chevron has for many years not just bankrolled the Myanmar military, but also served as the junta chief lobbyist and defenders in Washington DC.”
Groups are urging Chevron, French energy giant Total, South Korea’s POSCO, and all other oil and gas companies operating in Myanmar to suspend payments made to the state-owned oil and gas company — and instead place those payments in an escrow account where they will be released once democracy is restored. More than 94,000 people have signed petitions by campaigning groups SumOfUs and the International Campaign for the Rohingya.
Billenness added: “The civil disobedience movement has been demonstrating outside the offices of oil companies like Chevron and Total in Yangon, and now we are bringing their struggle to Chevron’s chief lobbying office in Washington DC.”
The US has already placed sanctions on several military Generals and a handful of military-run companies, but activists are now urging the US government to also sanction the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) — the state-run company that is the main financial lifeline for the military. MOGE’s revenues are the largest source of foreign exchange available to the military, forecasting to bring in USD1.5 billion this upcoming year. Military leaders have anticipated sanctions, but probably not sanctions on gas revenues which were exempted in the 2000s and were a linchpin for the regime’s financial viability.
If MOGE is sanctioned, it would also effectively force Chevron and Total to suspend payments to the military.
Rewan Al-Haddad, a Campaigns Advisor for SumOfUs said, “The sanctions placed so far don’t go nearly far enough to create meaningful change. If we’re to have any impact on the military’s calculus, the US must sanction MOGE immediately and urge governments around the world to follow.”
On Friday morning, SumOfUs parked a mobile billboard outside the Treasury Department urging the US Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen and the Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control Andrea Gacki to place MOGE on the list of sanctioned companies.
For more information or to set up an interview, contact Rewan Al-Haddad: firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: SumOfUs via GLOBE NEWSWIRE