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Unocal, Human Rights Group Reach Tentative Settlement in Burma Case - 2004-12-14


The California state treasurer says he hopes an agreement between U.S. oil giant Unocal and a human rights organization will lead to assurances that the company will fully comply with human rights standards.

Phil Angelides spoke after Unocal and EarthWatch International announced a tentative settlement of a lawsuit alleging that Burmese soldiers forced male villagers into slave labor on a natural gas pipeline in which Unocal was a minority partner.

The villagers also charged that soldiers guarding pipeline construction sites physically abused them.

Unocal, the only U.S.-based company with significant direct investment in Burma, has denied there were any human rights violations during the project.

Exact terms of the settlement are still under negotiation.

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