Korean Government Rejects OECD Complaint Against Daewoo International and KOGAS Complicity in Human Rights Abuses in Burma (Myanmar) Insufficient to Begin Investigation

Negative social and environmental impacts on-going and set to increase; affected communities ignored
December 23, 2008 — The Government of Korea has rejected a complaint filed by EarthRights International on behalf of the Shwe Gas Movement (SGM) and nine Korea-based organizations alleging Daewoo International and the Korea Gas Corporation (KOGAS) are in breach of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises related to their involvement in a large-scale natural gas development project in military-ruled Burma. As an OECD-member state, Korea has committed to promote the Guidelines, which are a set of principles for corporate responsibility.
The 48-page Korean-language complaint, filed in person in Seoul on October 29, 2008 by representatives of ERI and the Shwe Gas Movement (SGM), alleges that Daewoo and KOGAS have failed to take the steps necessary to proactively prevent negative human rights and environmental impacts of the Shwe Gas Project in Burma, and are currently and potentially in violation of at least six of the OECD Guidelines for: failure to respect human rights; failure to promote sustainable development; failure to disclose information about the project; failure to consult with local populations and failure to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) according to international standards.
The complaint called on the companies and the Korean government to postpone the Shwe Project until breaches of the Guidelines are investigated and addressed. The Korean Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE), the governmental ministry of the OECD National Contact Point (NCP), rejected the complaint on all counts, expressing opinions uniformly consistent with those of Daewoo International. Moreover, the MKE opined that the general situation in Burma and specifically around the Shwe Project does not merit an investigation or arbitration between the companies and the complainants. The MKE’s position flies in the face of evidence from groups and communities from within the proposed pipeline area in Burma.
Read the full text of the complaint – English & Korean versions available

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