WHEREAS the University of Minnesota has established a strong tradition of concern for social issues in its investment policies, and

WHEREAS the most controversial country for U.S. investors concerned about human rights at present is Burma, and

WHEREAS the military government of Burma has systematically abused human rights, tortured and imprisoned citizens who dissent from its policies, and has failed to yield control to the legally elected party in the national elections of 1990, and

WHEREAS Total Oil Company's (Total S.A.) investment in the construction and operation of the Yadana offshore oil pipeline represents about one-third of the current foreign investments in Burma, and

WHEREAS Total Oil Company has been complicit with the Burmese government in the use of forced labor for the building of this pipeline and its supporting infrastructure,


The University of Minnesota should not invest in Total Oil Company (Total S.A.) stock until the reestablishment of a democratic government and redress of human rights abuses in that nation, or until Total Oil Company suspends its operations in Burma, and;

The University carefully consider the social impact of future investments in companies which operate in Burma, until the reestablishment of a democratic government and redress of human rights abuses in that nation.


COMMENT: (Added when presented to the University Senate for approval)

A military government, Slorc, was established in 1988 amidst violent suppression of a wide-spread democratic movement. The pro-democracy party (National League for Democracy) won the election of 1990 by a large margin, but the Slorc ignored the results, and instead continued to quash dissent. Slorc imprisoned Aung San Suu Kyi (Nobel Peace Prize winner) for six years, during which time her party won the national elections. After her release in 1995, she remains confined to her home. In 1996, student protests and arrests escalated. In response, the Slorc closed Burma's 30-odd colleges and universities; they remain closed to this day. International agencies and human rights groups continue to criticize the SPDC (name for the all-military government since 1997) for using forced labor on infrastructure projects and for military purposes.

Total Oil Company (Total, S.A.), Burma's largest investor bringing in about one-third of foreign capital, has been charged with using forced labor in building its oil pipeline and in construction of the Ye-Tavoy railroad which supports the pipeline project. Forced labor is used by the SPDC as well, under particularly onerous conditions, for military portering.

In May 1997, the Clinton administration determined that the conditions under which the United States can impose economic sanctions on Burma had been met, and declared a ban on new U.S. investment in Burma. Eighteen cities, Alameda Co. (California), and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have passed selective purchasing legislation, targeting companies that do business in Burma. Companies that have ceased operations in Burma include Amoco, Apple Computer, Eastman Kodak, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, J.C. Penney, Kmart, Liz Claiborne, PepsiCo, and Walt Disney. The University of Wisconsin divested its portfolio of Texaco stock in April 1997, and Texaco sold its stake in Burma's Yetagun oil fields in December 1997.

The University of Minnesota divested its Total Oil shares valued at $1.2 million in March 1998.