Juliana Ruhfus meets Indonesian security guards employed by Exxon Mobil
In 2001 eleven Indonesian villagers filed a lawsuit in the US against Exxon Mobil for human rights abuses. The villagers say that they and their relatives were tortured, killed and sexually assaulted by a 3000-strong Indonesian military unit hired by Exxon to protect a gas pipeline and liquefaction plant in northern Aceh. People & Power reporter, Juliana Ruhfus, travels to Aceh to hear the stories of four of the villagers.

The case was stalled for five years. Last year, however, a US judge allowed it to move forward under US state law. People & Power speaks with Terry Collingsworth, the lawyer at the US-based NGO, the International Labor Rights Fund (ILRF) that is representing the villagers. 
Mary Robinson [EPA]
Collingsworth says: "If Exxon empowered a group of soldiers who in the course of their duties of providing security for Exxon, murdered or tortured someone, then that meets our legal standards for aiding and abetting."
In the studio, People & Power speaks with Mary Robinson, the former UN high commissioner on human rights. Why do large oil, gas and mining companies so often face questions about their respect for human rights in developing countries? And is it any defence when they point out that they are obeying the laws of the land that they are operating in?

This episode of People & Power aired from 27 February 2007

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