A group of exiled Burmese activists has asked Burma's Indian and Korean partners in a natural gas joint venture to withdraw from the project, saying big profits will further entrench Burma's military rulers.
Activists in Thailand, Bangladesh and India issued a report Tuesday, saying Burma's government stands to earn 12 billion dollars from royalties and taxes on natural gas sales from the Shwe off-shore gas project.
The activists say they fear continuing the Shwe joint venture will lead to a repeat of human rights abuses that occurred during other energy projects, when Burmese citizens were subjected to slave labor and forced relocation from their land.
Burma's Indian and Korean partners in the Shwe project have not responded to the request.
The Shwe gas project has been exploring natural gas fields off the western coast of Burma's Arakan and Chin states, and reports say it promises to be one of the richest gas sources in Southeast Asia.
The United States and the European Union have imposed harsh sanctions against Burma's military government for its poor human rights record and failure to hand over control to a democratically elected government.
Information for this report is provided by Reuters.