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Unocal: Settlement Near in Burmese Human-Rights Claim - 2004-12-13


U.S. oil giant Unocal says it has reached an agreement in principle to settle a human-rights lawsuit brought against it by a group of Burmese villagers.

A company spokesman in Los Angeles (California) said late Sunday that negotiations on details of the settlement are still going on.

The lawsuit alleges that Burmese soldiers forced male villagers to become slave laborers on a gas pipeline project (Yadana) in which Unocal was a minority partner. The villagers also charged that soldiers guarding pipeline construction sites during the 1990s physically abused them.

Unocal has consistently denied there were any human-rights violations during the 1.2-billion-dollar project.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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