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Belgian Court Rules Against Burmese Refugees

  • VOA News

A Belgian appeals court has dismissed a claim by four Burmese refugees against Total oil company because they were not Belgian nationals.

The Burmese had filed suit against Total in 2002 under a controversial Belgian law enabling Belgium to try defendants for human rights abuses committed outside the country.

The law was later changed to make it more difficult for foreigners without Belgian citizenship to use.

The plaintiffs accused Total of complicity in the torture and forced labor of Burmese citizens while the company built an oil pipeline in Burma.

Total was specifically accused of being aware that Burma's military government was exploiting those citizens in the project. The court ruled it did not have to hear the case because the plaintiffs were not Belgian.

Information for this report is provided by Reuters and AFP.

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