Conducting resource extraction in failed states, conflict zones, and
countries with poor human rights records (collectively, "regions of
concern") raises a number of profound moral and ethical concerns. Not
only might human rights abuses be committed in the resource recovery
process (such as by the displacement of local populations or the use of
forced labor), but royalty payments by extractive industry corporations
might also bankroll oppressive governments and their military machines.
In their article, Matthew F. Smith and Naing Htoo document the many
abuses committed by the military juntas that have ruled Burma since
1962-both in their efforts to cling to power, as well as in exploiting the
country's significant hydrocarbon reserves. Energy royalties contributed at
least U.S. $ 1 billion to the junta's coffers in 2006; and incidents of forced
labor and forced migration along the route of the Yadana gas pipeline are
well documented. Similar dilemmas confront energy companies doing
business in Sudan, where royalty payments are widely suspected of fueling
the atrocities in Darfur.
"Matthew Smith & Naing Htoo, Energy Security: Security for Whom?,"
Yale Human Rights and Development Journal:
1, Article 13.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yhrdlj/vol11/iss1/13