Raise the Voices, a digital publication that puts a spotlight on human rights abuses around the world, has called on the directors of Chevron to immediately withdraw from and cut all payments to Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), a national oil and gas company in Myanmar(Burma).
Citing the global response to what has happened in Ukraine, Raise the Voice co-founder and director, Golda Valez said, "It is not acceptable to do business with vicious dictators." Myanmar's (Burma) democratically elected government was overthrown in February 2021.
Following is the letter submitted by Raise the Voice, demanding action:
We the undersigned concur and strongly urge Chevron Directors to immediately withdraw and cut all payments to (MOGE), a national oil and gas company of Myanmar. As the world showed in responding to Russian aggression in Ukraine, it is past time to stop enabling dictators and violence. Your decisions as individual members of the Board of Directors have the power to send a powerful message and actually end this violent oppression of the people of Myanmar.
To inform you what has been happening in Myanmar since the military staged the coup in February 2021, and what you can do regarding this. Violating the 2008 constitution adopted by themselves, the military-led by Senior General Min Aung Hlaing overthrew the people-elected government led by President U Win Myint and the State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi. Since then, the military has so far killed around 1500 protestors including more than 150 children and unlawfully detained around 12,000 people. These casualties do not include those who are damaged and killed during the armed conflicts.
In response to the military coup, Myanmar people have been unwaveringly revolving against the military by different means including but not limited to protesting, boycotting the military-related business and products, and not paying any taxes to the military junta. Because they believe that the taxes and profits from the military-run businesses are the lifeblood of military revenue.
However, there is still another pillar that mainly supports the military’s revenue. It is no other than the revenue from the oil and gas industry providing the military financial resources. According to human rights watch, the junta has been earning over US$ 1 billion a year from the oil and gas industry through Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprises (MOGE). Of these, the Yadana gas field generates around 45 US dollars each month for MOGE. In this Yadanar project, Chevron contributes 28% of the investment as the second-largest investor.
If any action is taken, the MOGE could continue to receive from Yadana Project and might even receive more income than it currently receives. If this continues to happen, the junta will continue to have financial resources to commit the crime against its people. Thus, it is particularly important to stop funding the atrocities by withdrawing from the Yadana Gas Project.
Thus, we, the people of Myanmar are demanding internationally reputable companies like Total and Chevron to stop funding the military through MOGE. Last month, TotalEnergies decided to withdraw, and now is the time for Chevron to responsibly withdraw from this project to help the people of Myanmar.
In conclusion, we are aware that Chevron is internationally recognized as a reputable and reliable company, which runs only responsible and accountable businesses. Henceforth, we would like to urge you to stand with us in fighting against the military terrorists who are committing genocide and crime against humanity for many decades. And we hope your company will surely value the wishes of the Myanmar People.
The world is watching. We urge you to act.
Golda Velez, Director, RaisetheVoices.org, Software Engineer from Tucson, Arizona
Nalini Shenoy, Volunteer, RaisetheVoices.org, IT Manager from Sacramento, California
Hein Min Aung, Yangon, Myanmar