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Rights Group Warns Project in Burma May Increase Abuses


An international human rights group is urging international firms involved in a gas project in military-run Burma to suspend their work there until they are sure the project will not promote further rights abuses.

In a new report Saturday, New York-based Human Rights Watch warns the construction of gas pipelines for the Shwe project could lead to forced labor, illegal land confiscation, forced displacement and the use of force against villagers.

Companies from India and South Korea are participating in the project.

Burmese activists say natural gas sales alone could bring the Burmese government some 12 billion dollars in royalties and taxes.

There was no immediate response from the Burmese government.

A recent U.S. government State Department human rights report included Burma along with North Korea, China and Russia on a list of some of the world's worst human rights offenders.

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