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Unocal in Burma Case Study

The evaluation in the humanitarian principles held in the Unocal in Burma calls for an intensive integration into the parameters of humanitarian principles. However, pursuit into the rationality held by humanitarian ethics would provide that the basic humanitarian principles were compromised in this case. To the perception of the company, the benefits that could accrue to it and the contemporary community in the investment into this project were far outweighing the possible risks held by the same.

They included forced labor, poor working conditions for the Burmese citizens in the construction of the pipeline, forced relocation which had no compensation, separation, sexual abuse by military officers to women in their command of work force for the project, execution and imprisonment for those who opposed the actions pronounced by the military command above other atrocities. The Unocal case goes down in historical books as a strict compliment that acted in erosion of the rights of the people.

The situational characteristics called for various concerns whose aim was to foster retribution in the justice of humanity to the Burma citizens which had been breached by the authoritative construction of the gas pipeline across Karen. However, though the project leveraged various risks, its management noted that the accruing benefits from the same project would far out weigh the negative effects. According to the provisions of the company, engagement was better of than isolation in creating foundations of achieving political and social change in Burma (Geoffrey, 2006)

Basing our argument on moral principles of humanity, Unocal is generally responsible for the injuries that were inflicted on the people of Karen. Fundamentally, its activities were subjectively in breach and erosion of the basic human rights above inflicting injuries that left the human population at a comparative disadvantage. Though it argued that the benefits that would have accrued from the project would far out weigh the losses and risks involved in its establishment, this could not rationally hold true basing our argument on various ethical theories.

At one level, utilitarian principle would argue that the activity could not bring happiness to greater part of the population but rather brought such happiness to only a small section of the society. Consequently, the objectives and goals of the company in constructing such a project could not meet the demands of utilitarian principle. Either, this was a passive breach into the fundamentals of human rights. This can be described by the wide array in the committing various crimes that went against human rights.

At one point the project was constructed using forced labor under the dictatorial leadership of the Burma government. Women and young children were also indulged in forced labor. In order to achieve success in its mission, the Unocal through the military government had to relocate the people from their land without compensation. These were insights that infringed the respective human rights. Violation of the rules of human justice was evidently modeled. Conceptually, the citizens of Karen were subjected into forced labor.

Any attribute of subjecting those who refused to undertake forced labor into aspects of execution or imprisonment was doing injustice to them. Either, forced labor was also a compliment of injustice. The success of the project was through the dictatorial command of the Burmese military government that waged various aspects of injustice such as torture, forced labor force, arbitrary detentions and violation into the freedoms of speech and assembly (Geoffery, 2005) There was also the basic lack of the provisions of care into the life and the good of the Karen citizens.

They were subsequently subjected into activities that were atrocious and that did not respect the dimensions and provisions for healthy living of the people. Generally, all the fundamentals of inhuman activities subjected to this community were rational in eroding the status of human life. They were subjected to massive injuries, hard work through forced labor, eviction of the people from their land without compensation and other aspects that waged the violations of the basic care of humanity. Additionally, it was evident that this process was a fundamental violation into the provisions of the basic Kantian rights.

These are the rights allied to restoring the dignity of a person as a mortal being. According to Kant, any activity that violates these rights is philosophically incredible and does not aim at doing any justice to the concept of humanity. Generally therefore, basing our arguments on the provisions of these ethical parameters would lead to summing up that Unocal’s project in Burma did not meet the basic requirements that restore the dignity of humanity. It was however a subjective violation into compounds of such different ethical theories (Geoffrey, 2006)

Therefore, the ethical retribution of the company of engaging in the project could have been met by following the procedures that preserved humanity. This could have been achieved through restoring all its subjective activities that eroded the ethical provisions of the people. It should not have used forced labor, relocation without compensation, child labor and all other aspects that did not meet the attributes of restoring the dignity of the people.

Reference

Geoffrey, F (2006) Business Ethics: Principles and Dimensions. London, Routledge

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