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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 November 2007, 21:35 GMT
Students criticise Burma oil link
Monk protestors in Burma
Burma has recently witnessed civil unrest
Students have voted in favour of a motion calling on the University of Edinburgh to withdraw its investments in an oil company with links to Burma.

The university owns 16,640 shares in Total, which account for less than half of one per cent of its investment fund.

The motion was passed by 360 votes to three at the student AGM. They hope it will put pressure on the university to end its involvement with the firm.

The university insisted all its investments were socially responsible.

French energy giant Total is one of the biggest investors in Burma.

A spokesman for the Student Green Party, who put forward the motion, said they did not believe owning shares in Total was in line with the university's ethical investment policy.

The University of Edinburgh's investment committee and the university's fund managers strictly adhere to a socially responsible investment policy
Edinburgh University spokesman

Past student AGM meetings have persuaded the university to embrace Fairtrade, to remove Robert Mugabe's honorary degree and to disinvest from the arms company BAE Systems.

A university spokesman said: "The University of Edinburgh's investment committee and the university's fund managers strictly adhere to a socially responsible investment policy.

"The university has in place procedures to consider any matters that are raised and the university court's approach is one of engagement with companies on ethical issues through our fund managers' corporate governance unit."

Total is the world's fourth largest oil and gas firm.

In 2005, it agreed to pay compensation to Burmese villagers who claimed they were used as forced labour during the building of a major gas pipeline.

It denied it was aware that forced labour was directly or indirectly used in the project.

SEE ALSO
Q&A: Protests in Burma
02 Oct 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Burma embargoes fail to bite
16 Jul 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Mugabe degree formally withdrawn
16 Jul 07 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife

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