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Tuesday, 23 May, 2000, 17:44 GMT 18:44 UK
Total denies Burma allegations

The French oil company, Total, has denied charges of using slave labour in the construction of gas pipelines in Burma.

A Washington-based human rights and environmental group, EarthRights International, said on Monday that Total, and the American and British oil companies, Unocal and Premier, were profiting from slave labour and other human rights violations in Burma in building the gas pipelines.

A spokesman Michel Delaborde for Total in Paris said the company had known about the existence of slave labour before getting involved in the construction project, but had never used forced labourers itself.

He said Total worked to its own rules.

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