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Burma/Myanmar: "Development"-induced displacement

Websites/Multiple Documents

Title: Land disputes (Category archive BurmaNet News)
Description/subject: Articles on this category from BurmaNet News
Language: English
Source/publisher: BurmaNet News
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 01 March 2016


Individual Documents

Title: A Foreseeable Disaster in Burma: Forced Displacement in the Thilawa Special Economic Zone
Date of publication: November 2014
Description/subject: Conclusion: "The displacement in Thilawa took place amid a broader climate of state-sponsored abuse in Burma, where people have no recourse to challenge illegal government action. Specifically, the displacement process in Thilawa violated residents’ human rights, negatively affected their ability to provide for themselves, and resulted in deteriorating food security and limited ability to access health care. The TSEZMC will relocate 846 more households when development begins on phase two of the project. If the TSEZMC, the Burmese government, and JICA continue to operate as they did in the first phase of the project, these households will suffer the same fate. Burma requires economic development, but given the historical context of forced displacement, impunity for human rights violations, weak rule of law, and corruption, there is great risk that economic development projects will benefit a select few in power at the expense of deepened deprivation and poverty for many others. Although the results of this survey cannot be generalized for the country as a whole, the survey does highlight risks inherent to any major development project in Burma. Having recently emerged from more than 50 years of military dictatorship, it will take time and commitment to build a strong civil society that is capable of educating people in Burma about their rights. Residents generally fear their government, which for decades has controlled the population by force. The government has yet to implement sufficient mechanisms to protect people from human rights abuses and ensure justice for victims. Given this context, any development project in the country carries great risk of human rights violations. JICA and other organizations implementing such projects should make every effort to proactively identify the potential negative outcomes and consult with the affected community about how best to minimize or eliminate these risks. The Thilawa case suggests that foreign organizations cannot rely on the Burmese government to protect the human rights of forcibly displaced populations..."
Author/creator: Andrea Gittleman, Widney Brown
Language: English, Japanese
Source/publisher: Physicians for Human Rights
Format/size: pdf (557K-English version; 334K-Japanese reduced version; 2.32MB-Japanese original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs20/PHR-2014-11-Burma-Thilawa_Report-jp-red.pdf
https://s3.amazonaws.com/PHR_Reports/Burma-Thilawa-English-Report-Nov2014.pdf
https://s3.amazonaws.com/PHR_Reports/burma-displacement-report-japanese-2014.pdf
Date of entry/update: 18 November 2014


Title: Model villages are not a model (Burmese/ ျမန္မာဘာသာ)
Date of publication: 21 July 2013
Description/subject: Summary: “As crony companies and foreign investment companies join with the government in large-scale projects, a new model of “development” is unfolding across Burma. To make way for hydropower dams and mono-crop plantations, villagers have been forced into relocation camps, or so-called “model villages.” The government and the companies state proudly in the media that the living standard of these relocated people has improved, but the reality is completely opposite. The housing in the relocation camps is sub-standard. There is no clean water for household use, insufficient drinking water, and inadequate education and health care. Having lost their lands and livelihoods, the relocated people are forced to find insecure and low-paid daily wage jobs to try and feed themselves. They are constantly worrying about their future, and how to provide for their children’s education. Women face increased risk of sexual harassment and assault by migrant laborers. In this situation, people do not feel like they are living in “model villages.” They feel like they are living in refugee camps, full of wretchedness and difficulty... This short booklet presents the cases of three relocation camps in Kachin State: Sanpyar camp in Hugawng Valley, and Aung Myin Thar and Maliyang camps near the Irrawaddy Myitsone. It gives an insight into people’s lives before and after relocation... Mungchying Rawt Jat (MRJ) was set up in September 2012 by farmers directly affected by government development projects in Kachin State. The objectives of Mungchying Rawt Jat (MRJ): • Development of grassroots communities • Sustainable development. • Protection of natural resources • Ensuring local people’s participation in decision-making around development projects • Letting local people lead peaceful and secure lives...”
Language: Burmese/ ျမန္မာဘာသာ
Source/publisher: Mungchying Rawt Jat (MRJ) via Kachin Development Networking Group (KDNG)
Format/size: pdf (1.6MB-reduced version; 2.25MB-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.kdng.org/images/stories/publication/modelvilageisnotmodel.pdf
Date of entry/update: 21 December 2014


Title: Model villages are not a model (English)
Date of publication: 21 July 2013
Description/subject: Summary: “As crony companies and foreign investment companies join with the government in large-scale projects, a new model of “development” is unfolding across Burma. To make way for hydropower dams and mono-crop plantations, villagers have been forced into relocation camps, or so-called “model villages.” The government and the companies state proudly in the media that the living standard of these relocated people has improved, but the reality is completely opposite. The housing in the relocation camps is sub-standard. There is no clean water for household use, insufficient drinking water, and inadequate education and health care. Having lost their lands and livelihoods, the relocated people are forced to find insecure and low-paid daily wage jobs to try and feed themselves. They are constantly worrying about their future, and how to provide for their children’s education. Women face increased risk of sexual harassment and assault by migrant laborers. In this situation, people do not feel like they are living in “model villages.” They feel like they are living in refugee camps, full of wretchedness and difficulty... This short booklet presents the cases of three relocation camps in Kachin State: Sanpyar camp in Hugawng Valley, and Aung Myin Thar and Maliyang camps near the Irrawaddy Myitsone. It gives an insight into people’s lives before and after relocation... Mungchying Rawt Jat (MRJ) was set up in September 2012 by farmers directly affected by government development projects in Kachin State. The objectives of Mungchying Rawt Jat (MRJ): • Development of grassroots communities • Sustainable development. • Protection of natural resources • Ensuring local people’s participation in decision-making around development projects • Letting local people lead peaceful and secure lives...”
Language: English
Source/publisher: Mungchying Rawt Jat (MRJ) via Kachin Development Networking Group (KDNG)
Format/size: pdf (467K-reduced version; 761K-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.kdng.org/images/stories/publication/modelvillagersarenotamodele2.pdf
http://www.kdng.org/publication/323-model-villages-are-not-a-model.html
Date of entry/update: 21 December 2014


Title: Photo Set: Villagers register concerns about proposed Hatgyi Dam
Date of publication: 26 June 2012
Description/subject: "This Photo Set includes 28 photos taken in two villages in the southern area of Bu Tho Township in Papun District, and in three villages in the northern area of Lu Pleh Township in Pa'an District, all of which are located in the Salween river valley near the site where the Hatgyi dam will be constructed. These photographs depict villagers throughout these townships pursuing their livelihoods and children attending school. According to the community member who spoke with villagers in the area and took these photos, as well as local media,[1] the villagers will be displaced by flooding near the dam site if construction at Hatgyi goes ahead as planned. This Photo Set also includes evidence of an earlier meeting in Myaing Gyi Ngu regarding intended forced relocation of villages in the proposed Hatgyi dam site prior to flooding. The photos depict a pamphlet on the dam, as well as solar panels, LED lights and batteries that were given to villagers in the areas that will be affected. In order to pre-empt forcible relocation or flooding, some villagers in the area have chosen to close schools in preparation for moving."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs21/KHRG-2012-06-26-Villagers_register_concerns_about_proposed_Hatgy...
Date of entry/update: 13 July 2012


Title: Resisting the Flood: Communities taking a stand against the imminent construction of Irrawaddy dams
Date of publication: October 2009
Description/subject: Message from KDNG: "As a network of residents of Kachin State, we, the Kachin Development Networking Group, have been monitoring plans by the stateowned China Power Investment Corporation and Burma’s military regime to build seven dams on the Irrawaddy River and its two main tributaries. In 2007 we published the report, "Damming the Irrawaddy" which surveyed the environment and peoples in the affected area and analyzed the negative impacts of these dams. Today construction of the 2,000-megawatt Chibwe Dam on the N’Mai River is already underway. The forced relocation of 15,000 people to clear out the flood zone of the Irrawaddy Myitsone Dam has also begun. In August 2009 villagers were informed that they must begin to move out within two months. There have been no public assessments of the projects, no consultation with affected people within the flood zone or downstream, and no consent from local residents or the larger population of Burma. As a result, public resistance to the dams is growing. Despite the risks of arrest, torture or death for dissent in military-ruled Burma, brave people are demanding a halt to the dams. Mass prayer ceremonies calling for the protection of the rivers have been held along the river banks and in churches up and downstream. Posters, open letters, and graffi ti from students, elders and prominent leaders have objected to the dams. In a face-to-face meeting with the Burma Army’s Northern Commander, local residents made it clear that no amount of compensation will make up for the losses these dams will bring to their community and future generations. We stand with the people of Kachin State and throughout Burma who oppose these dams. The demand to stop this project has been made clear to our military rulers and now we specifically appeal to China Power Investment Corporation and the government of China to stop these dams..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Kachin Development Networking Group (KDNG) via Burma Rivers Network (BRN)
Format/size: pdf (1.1MB-reduced version; 1.37MB-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs21/KDNG-2009-Resisting_the_Flood-red-en.pdf
Date of entry/update: 21 November 2009


Title: Resisting the Flood: Communities taking a stand against the imminent construction of Irrawaddy dams (Burmese ျမန္မာဘာသာ)
Date of publication: October 2009
Description/subject: Message from KDNG: "As a network of residents of Kachin State, we, the Kachin Development Networking Group, have been monitoring plans by the stateowned China Power Investment Corporation and Burma’s military regime to build seven dams on the Irrawaddy River and its two main tributaries. In 2007 we published the report, "Damming the Irrawaddy" which surveyed the environment and peoples in the affected area and analyzed the negative impacts of these dams. Today construction of the 2,000-megawatt Chibwe Dam on the N’Mai River is already underway. The forced relocation of 15,000 people to clear out the flood zone of the Irrawaddy Myitsone Dam has also begun. In August 2009 villagers were informed that they must begin to move out within two months. There have been no public assessments of the projects, no consultation with affected people within the flood zone or downstream, and no consent from local residents or the larger population of Burma. As a result, public resistance to the dams is growing. Despite the risks of arrest, torture or death for dissent in military-ruled Burma, brave people are demanding a halt to the dams. Mass prayer ceremonies calling for the protection of the rivers have been held along the river banks and in churches up and downstream. Posters, open letters, and graffi ti from students, elders and prominent leaders have objected to the dams. In a face-to-face meeting with the Burma Army’s Northern Commander, local residents made it clear that no amount of compensation will make up for the losses these dams will bring to their community and future generations. We stand with the people of Kachin State and throughout Burma who oppose these dams. The demand to stop this project has been made clear to our military rulers and now we specifically appeal to China Power Investment Corporation and the government of China to stop these dams..."
Language: Burmese (ျမန္မာဘာသာ)
Source/publisher: Burma Rivers Network
Format/size: pdf (2.41MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs21/KDNG-2009-Resisting_the_Flood-bu.pdf
Date of entry/update: 29 February 2016


Title: Resisting the Flood: Communities taking a stand against the imminent construction of Irrawaddy dams (Chinese တရုုတ္ဘာသာ)
Date of publication: October 2009
Description/subject: Message from KDNG: "As a network of residents of Kachin State, we, the Kachin Development Networking Group, have been monitoring plans by the stateowned China Power Investment Corporation and Burma’s military regime to build seven dams on the Irrawaddy River and its two main tributaries. In 2007 we published the report, "Damming the Irrawaddy" which surveyed the environment and peoples in the affected area and analyzed the negative impacts of these dams. Today construction of the 2,000-megawatt Chibwe Dam on the N’Mai River is already underway. The forced relocation of 15,000 people to clear out the flood zone of the Irrawaddy Myitsone Dam has also begun. In August 2009 villagers were informed that they must begin to move out within two months. There have been no public assessments of the projects, no consultation with affected people within the flood zone or downstream, and no consent from local residents or the larger population of Burma. As a result, public resistance to the dams is growing. Despite the risks of arrest, torture or death for dissent in military-ruled Burma, brave people are demanding a halt to the dams. Mass prayer ceremonies calling for the protection of the rivers have been held along the river banks and in churches up and downstream. Posters, open letters, and graffi ti from students, elders and prominent leaders have objected to the dams. In a face-to-face meeting with the Burma Army’s Northern Commander, local residents made it clear that no amount of compensation will make up for the losses these dams will bring to their community and future generations. We stand with the people of Kachin State and throughout Burma who oppose these dams. The demand to stop this project has been made clear to our military rulers and now we specifically appeal to China Power Investment Corporation and the government of China to stop these dams..."
Language: Chinese (တရုတ္ဘာသာ)
Source/publisher: Burma Rivers Network
Format/size: pdf (1.1MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs21/KDNG-2009-Resisting_the_Flood-chinese.pdf
Date of entry/update: 29 February 2016


Title: Roots and Resilience - Tasang dam threatens war-torn Shan communities
Date of publication: July 2009
Description/subject: 'The report “Roots and Resilience” by the Shan Sapawa Environment Organization focuses on the ecologically unique area of Keng Kham, a community of 15,000 that was forcibly relocated over ten years ago; the majority have fled to Thailand. Today the estimated 3,000 that remain are managing to maintain their livelihoods and culture despite the constant threats of the Burma Army and the impending Tasang dam. Indigenous Shan cultural practices, river-fed farms, sacred cave temples and pristine waterfalls are depicted in photos from this isolated war-zone, together with updated information about the dam project, which has been shrouded in secrecy. The 7,110 MW Tasang Dam is the biggest of five dams planned on the Salween River; the majority of the power from the dam will be sold to Thailand. Project investors include the Thai MDX Company and China’s Gezhouba Group Company. Thailand’s support for the controversial dam was recently reiterated when the project was included in its national Power Development Plan. Military tension has escalated in recent months in Shan State as the Burmese regime has been putting pressure on the United Wa State Army to transform into a “Border Guard Force.” Abuses linked to anti-insurgency campaigns are also on the rise.'
Language: English, Thai
Source/publisher: Shan Sapawa Environmental Organization
Format/size: pdf (1.8-reduced version, 4.68MB-original- English; 6.58MB - Thai)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs21/SSEO-2009-Roots_and_Resilience-Tasang_Dam_Threatens_War-Torn_Sha...
http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs21/SSEO-2009-Roots_and_Resilience-Tasang_Dam_Threatens_War-Torn_Sha...
http://salweenwatch.org/images/PDF/rootsandresiliencethai.pdf
Date of entry/update: 05 October 2009


Title: Damming the Irrawaddy
Date of publication: 22 October 2007
Description/subject: Executive Summary: "The Irrawaddy, one of Asia's great river systems which flows through Burma's heartlands, is about to be dammed. Burma's military junta is allowing Chinese companies to build a giant 152-meter-tall hydropower dam and transmit the electricity back to China. The dam is one in a series that the junta has planned involving the export of power to neighboring countries. While the regime will gain new revenues, Burma's ordinary citizens, who have no say in the process, will bear the costs. A project-launching ceremony for the dam at the confluence (or Myitsone in Burmese), where the Irrawaddy begins, was held in May 2007 in Burma's northernmost Kachin State. The dam will generate 3,600 MW of electricity, most of which will be transmitted to China, fitting into the Chinese Central Government's 'West to East Power Transmission Policy' The power will be worth an estimated US$500 million per year. The Irrawaddy Myitsone dam is the first in a series of seven large Chinese dams to be built along this waterway. Deeply concerned about the dam's potential impacts, elders, community leaders and villagers from across Kachin State have sent protest letters directly to Senior General Than Shwe and the military's Northern Commander to stop the project, but the objections have so far fallen on deaf ears. An estimated 47 villages will be inundated in a region recognized as one of the world'seight "hottest hotspots of biodiversity." Approximately 10,000 people will be displaced, losing their livelihoods, and exacerbating the existing problems of unemployment, drug addiction and HIV/AIDS in the area. Roads that are the link betweenmajor towns in theremote state will be cutoffby the floods impacting communication, transportation, and trade. Recent dam breaks in nearby rivers in 2006 have swept away houses and bridges, causing fatalities and destroying power stations and dam structures beyond repair. Northern Burma is earthquake-prone, and the Irrawaddy Myitsone dam site is less than 100 km from the major Sagaing fault line. Dam breakage or unnatural flood surges would be disastrous for Myitkyina, the capital city of Kachin State that lies only 40 kilometers downstream of the dam. The well-documented negative impacts of large dams on fisheries, flood plain farming and river bank cultivation will impact the millions that rely on the Irrawaddy. Health concerns that include an increase in malaria and the release of toxic methyl-mercury from the dam's reservoir will endanger Burma's people, further burdening a healthcare system that is ranked as one of the worst in the world. The critically endangered Irrawaddy dolphin may become extinct in its namesake river. Human rights abuses by the military have been extensively reported, including the junta's use of troops and landmines to secure large development projects, resulting in forced labor, land confiscation and threats to life. There is no reason to expect that the communities living at the Irrawaddy Myitsone dam site will not suffer the same consequences. Women are particularly susceptible to sexual violence by troops. In addition to these risks, women face pressures to participate in the sex trade once construction sites are set up and livelihoods are lost, and are increasingly vulnerable to human trafficking. For centuries, the Myitsone has been the source of songs, poems and legends which are not only the heritage of the Kachin but all the people of Burma. If this dam were to go ahead, a national cultural landmark would be permanently submerged and lost to future generations. The Kachin Development Networking Group (KDNG) joins those who have already spoken out to call for an end to the Irrawaddy Myitsone dam project. The ruling military junta is promoting mega-development that places all the costs and risks on disenfranchised peoples while fortifying military control. Small-scale alternatives that recognize the rights of local communities and empower them to participate and manage resources are possible. China is an important neighbor that can be a positive influence in the region. KDNG calls on China to abide at least by its own standards when operating in Burma and to heed the voices of affected peoples."
Language: English, Burmese
Source/publisher: Kachin Development Networking Group
Format/size: pdf (2.55MB and 1.6MB - English; 2.68MB - Burmese)
Alternate URLs: http://burmalibrary.org/docs4/Damming-the-Irrawaddy-bur.pdf (Burmese)
http://burmalibrary.org/docs4/Damming-the-Irrawaddy-eng.pdf (English, 1.6MB)
Date of entry/update: 22 October 2007