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Students will be assigned one ethical scenario concerning
Unocal in Burma.
Create a 850-1050 words, analyze your chosen scenario from a critical
-What is the moral responsibility of all major stakeholders?
-What are the stakeholders’ moral failings?
-What ideals or obligations are in conflict?
-What is the best outcome, given the consequences?
-In your conclusion, include a brief reflection of your analysis by describing
the relationship between critical thinking and ethics.
Note: Remember that this analysis should be based on critical thinking, not
on your personal opinion
Properly format the assignment in APA with appropriate references.
Reference web site:
Nightline March 28, 200
THE PEASANTS VS UNOCAL
The military junta that runs Burma has long been a pariah to global
advocates for human rights.
United Nations has condemned the regime annually for most of this decade
for its human rights records. And so have Human Rights Watch, Amnesty
International, other organizations.
After seizing power in a bloody coup in 1988 the generals further ruined
their reputations by aborting the clear cut 1990 election victory of Burma’s
pro-democracy party. And keeping under house arrest its Nobel Peace Prize
winning leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
The goal is this one; we want a democratic government elected by the
Among Burma’s most consistent critics has been the U.S. State Department.
Year after year the Department’s annual human rights reports have detailed the
same crimes including, “…rape, forced labor, and extra-judicial killing.
Disappearances continue.” And year after year these abuses have been quietly
documented and are reflected annually in judgments like this, “The people of
Burma continue to live under a highly repressive authoritarian military regime
widely condemned for its serious human rights abuses.”
When Unocal is making the decision, do we want to go in here, first off
what kind of credence, what kind of role in your consideration, your corporate
consideration do things like the State Department human rights reports play? Do
you dismiss them?
No we don’t dismiss any information about a country where we’re thinking
about investing but as I said earlier the main things we look for are economic
opportunity which must be accompanied by a climate which we can perform our
business as an island of integrity, no matter what’s going on around us, to our
On Unocal’s legal map of Burma there is an island of integrity. The
stripe its pipeline cuts across southern Burma.
there’s a lot going on in that area that we’re very proud of.
Unocal has a ready list and a ready supply of videotape evidence of the
company’s good deeds on behalf of 40,000 people living in the pipeline region.
First—direct employment which is important. Because employment and
economic opportunity is a human right. I say after that medical facilities. 12
full time doctors in an area that had no doctors.
No one disputes the pipeline company’s good deeds, often put on display
for visiting congress people, journalists, and even a pair of human rights
professionals. But the plaintiffs assert in their lawsuit that Unocal’s island
of integrity is sustained by a surrounding sea of human rights abuses.
The company works with the Burmese army, the army uses people’s labor to
build roads to get to the pipeline. The army brought us to the pipeline area to
work. We had to build the helipad, we had to carry the rations.
We’ve concealed the identity of this man and of all the other Burmese
plaintiffs in the Unocal case in observance of a protection order issued by
We have to go work for the railroad. We have to go work in the battalion
compound and we had to work as porters. In one year I think I had to go more
than ten times.
When you worked were you always paid?
No I never got paid.
I am sure that the military uses conscripted labor for porterage and I
know that in the early days of the execution of this project, military units in
the area of this project were using conscripted labor.
But, says Imle, not anymore. A claim disputed by one of the plaintiffs,
John Doe number 11.
That’s not true. They continued to force people to work for them. After I
left, people from my village still had to work. They told us about it.
We cannot and I cannot personally take responsibility for the conduct of
the government of Burma any more than I can take responsibility for the conduct
of the Los Angeles Police Department. I can take responsibility for what goes
on in our pipeline area.
That move is a little bit of a shell game.
To plaintiffs attorney Jenny Green that argument is red meat.
You, my business partner, you’re going to take responsibility for making
sure that the military barracks are built, that the helipad is built, that enough
soldiers are in the area to guard this pipeline and you can do whatever you
want but I’m not responsible because it’s this other person. And U.S. law is
particularly designed to say you can’t have two people in the same business
operation, one of them being clean and the other one playing dirty without them
both being held responsible.