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Rights of indigenous peoples - Burma/Myanmar

Websites/Multiple Documents

Title: IWGIA Burma page
Description/subject: "Burma’s diversity encompasses over 100 different ethnic groups. The Burmans make up an estimated 68 percent of Burma’s 51 million people. The country is divided into seven, mainly Burman-dominated divisions and seven ethnic states. The Burmese government refers to those groups generally considered indigenous peoples as “ethnic nationalities”. This includes the Shan, Karen, Rakhine, Karenni, Chin, Kachin and Mon. However, there are many more ethnic groups that are considered or see themselves as indigenous peoples, such as the Akha, Lisu, Lahu, Mru and many others..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: International Work Group on Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 16 September 2015


Individual Documents

Title: Indigenous Peoples’ Rights and Business in Myanmar (English, Burmese (ျမန္မာဘာသာ)
Date of publication: February 2016
Description/subject: "This paper on ‘Indigenous Peoples’ Rights and Business in Myanmar’ is part of a Briefing Paper series from the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business (MCRB). Indigenous peoples are present throughout the country, particularly in conflict‐affected areas. The briefing sets out the local and international context for indigenous peoples, including a short analysis of applicable international standards and domestic laws. It also describes the current policy, legal and political economy landscape concerning indigenous peoples in Myanmar. The paper gives guidance on how to apply relevant international standards on indigenous people to Myanmar. It is not intended as a substitute for legal advice. This paper is primarily intended to assist businesses operating in Myanmar who want to understand how to respect indigenous peoples’ rights and how to apply relevant international standards. The business case for companies to build respectful relationships with local communities and create shared value is increasingly understood, particularly for extractives companies who hope to stay for years in a community. When local communities are indigenous peoples, the case is even stronger. It may be reinforced by national legal requirements as well as international standards. These may even lead companies to reach formal agreements with indigenous communities...".....
Language: English, Burmese (ျမန္မာဘာသာ)
Source/publisher: Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business (MCRB)
Format/size: pdf (441K-Reduced version, English; 1MB-Burmese)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs21/MCRB-2016-02-Indigenous_people-bu.pdf
Date of entry/update: 26 February 2016


Title: We Used to Fear Bullets - Now We Fear Bulldozers (Burmese မန္မာဘာသာ)
Date of publication: October 2015
Description/subject: Dirty coal mining by military cronies & Thai companies, Ban Chaung, Dawei District, Myanmar.....Executive Summary: "This report was researched and written collaboratively by Dawei Civil Society Organizations and documents the environmental and social impacts of the Ban Chaung coal mining project in Dawei District of Myanmar’s Tanintharyi Region. Based on desk research, interviews with villagers, and direct engagement with companies and government, it exposes how the project was pushed ahead despite clear opposition from the local community. It documents the serious harm that has already been done to villagers’ health, livelihoods, security, and way of life, and the devastating contamination of local rivers and streams. It calls for the suspension of Mayflower Mining Company’s permit and operations at Ban Chaung until this harm is remedied and the project is effectively evaluated, monitored, and regulated in compliance with Myanmar law and international best practice. It advocates that local villagers should be given the opportunity to take ownership of their own path to development. Formerly mired in conflict, resource-rich Tanintharyi Region is now opened up to foreign investment, and is threatened by a flood of dirty industrial projects including the massive Dawei Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and seven coal-fired power plants. Among these dirty projects is a coal mine in the Ban Chaung area of Dawei District. The project is located in a sensitive recent conflict zone, where administration and territory is contested between the Myanmar government and the ethnic armed resistance organization, the Karen National Union (KNU). Taking advantage of contested administration and weak governance in this area, Myanmar crony company Mayflower Mining used its high-level connections to begin coal mining operations without proper safeguards to protect human rights and the environment. The project was pushed ahead without an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) and without the Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of local villagers. Mayflower Mining Company has a partnership with two companies from Thailand – East Star Company and Thai Asset Mining Company – that are operating on the ground in Ban Ban Chaung Coal Mining Report 2015 Chaung. Thai Asset has nearly completed building a road to transport Ban Chaung coal to the Theyet Chaung on the Tanintharyi coast, but its progress has been stalled due to a protest blockade by villagers. Meanwhile, East Star has already been operating a 60-acre open-pit mine at Khon Chaung Gyi village for more than three years, transporting nearly 500 tons of coal daily during the dry season according to local villagers. East Star has entered into a Joint Operating Agreement with Energy Earth Company, which will finance its mining operations and sell the coal on the market. May flower and its Thai partners plan to expand operations to mine for coal on at least 2,100 acres, threatening to take almost all of the local community’s agricultural land. Should it be allowed to expand, Ban Chaung coal mining would severely damage the health and livelihoods of approximately 16,000 villagers in the area, most of whom belong to the Karen ethnic group, and rely on fishing and farming. Indeed, many villagers are already suffering from increased pollution of air and water resources and land confiscations, of once productive agricultural land. East Star Company has dumped mining waste directly into the streams, causing fish to die off and local people to fall sick with troubling skin diseases. Uncontrolled coal fires, spontaneously combusting in waste and storage piles, have caused breathing problems in the community. An influx of outsiders along with the presence of the Myanmar military means local people no longer feel safe in their own villages. The project threatens the entire way of life of the indigenous Karen people of Ban Chaung, who have had their land passed down to them for generations. Although local people are overwhelmingly opposed to coal mining in their area, they were never given the chance to voice their concerns; only learning about the project once the bulldozers started digging on their land. Now, Ban Chaung villagers have joined together to challenge irresponsible coal mining in their area, and to call for alternative, democratic, and inclusive development in Tanintharyi Region."
Language: Burmese (ျမန္မာဘာသာ), English
Source/publisher: Tarkapaw Youth Group, Dawei Development Association (DDA), and the Tenasserim River & Indigenous People Networks (Trip Net)
Format/size: pdf (3.9MB), pptx (7.4MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs21/TRIPN-2015-10-We_Used_to_Fear_Bullets-Now_We_Fear_Bulldozers-en-...
http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs21/Frankie-Abreu-COMMUNITY-DRIVEN_NATURAL-RESOURCE_MANAGEMENT-en.pp...
Date of entry/update: 06 November 2015


Title: We Used to Fear Bullets - Now We Fear Bulldozers (English)
Date of publication: October 2015
Description/subject: Dirty coal mining by military cronies & Thai companies, Ban Chaung, Dawei District, Myanmar.....Executive Summary: "This report was researched and written collaboratively by Dawei Civil Society Organizations and documents the environmental and social impacts of the Ban Chaung coal mining project in Dawei District of Myanmar’s Tanintharyi Region. Based on desk research, interviews with villagers, and direct engagement with companies and government, it exposes how the project was pushed ahead despite clear opposition from the local community. It documents the serious harm that has already been done to villagers’ health, livelihoods, security, and way of life, and the devastating contamination of local rivers and streams. It calls for the suspension of Mayflower Mining Company’s permit and operations at Ban Chaung until this harm is remedied and the project is effectively evaluated, monitored, and regulated in compliance with Myanmar law and international best practice. It advocates that local villagers should be given the opportunity to take ownership of their own path to development. Formerly mired in conflict, resource-rich Tanintharyi Region is now opened up to foreign investment, and is threatened by a flood of dirty industrial projects including the massive Dawei Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and seven coal-fired power plants. Among these dirty projects is a coal mine in the Ban Chaung area of Dawei District. The project is located in a sensitive recent conflict zone, where administration and territory is contested between the Myanmar government and the ethnic armed resistance organization, the Karen National Union (KNU). Taking advantage of contested administration and weak governance in this area, Myanmar crony company Mayflower Mining used its high-level connections to begin coal mining operations without proper safeguards to protect human rights and the environment. The project was pushed ahead without an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) and without the Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of local villagers. Mayflower Mining Company has a partnership with two companies from Thailand – East Star Company and Thai Asset Mining Company – that are operating on the ground in Ban Ban Chaung Coal Mining Report 2015 Chaung. Thai Asset has nearly completed building a road to transport Ban Chaung coal to the Theyet Chaung on the Tanintharyi coast, but its progress has been stalled due to a protest blockade by villagers. Meanwhile, East Star has already been operating a 60-acre open-pit mine at Khon Chaung Gyi village for more than three years, transporting nearly 500 tons of coal daily during the dry season according to local villagers. East Star has entered into a Joint Operating Agreement with Energy Earth Company, which will finance its mining operations and sell the coal on the market. May flower and its Thai partners plan to expand operations to mine for coal on at least 2,100 acres, threatening to take almost all of the local community’s agricultural land. Should it be allowed to expand, Ban Chaung coal mining would severely damage the health and livelihoods of approximately 16,000 villagers in the area, most of whom belong to the Karen ethnic group, and rely on fishing and farming. Indeed, many villagers are already suffering from increased pollution of air and water resources and land confiscations, of once productive agricultural land. East Star Company has dumped mining waste directly into the streams, causing fish to die off and local people to fall sick with troubling skin diseases. Uncontrolled coal fires, spontaneously combusting in waste and storage piles, have caused breathing problems in the community. An influx of outsiders along with the presence of the Myanmar military means local people no longer feel safe in their own villages. The project threatens the entire way of life of the indigenous Karen people of Ban Chaung, who have had their land passed down to them for generations. Although local people are overwhelmingly opposed to coal mining in their area, they were never given the chance to voice their concerns; only learning about the project once the bulldozers started digging on their land. Now, Ban Chaung villagers have joined together to challenge irresponsible coal mining in their area, and to call for alternative, democratic, and inclusive development in Tanintharyi Region."
Language: English, Burmese (ျမန္မာဘာသာ)
Source/publisher: Tarkapaw Youth Group, Dawei Development Association (DDA), and the Tenasserim River & Indigenous People Networks (Trip Net)
Format/size: pdf (3.9MB), pptx (7.4MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs21/TRIPN-2015-10-We_Used_to_Fear_Bullets_Now_We_Fear_Bulldozers-bu-...
http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs21/Frankie-Abreu-COMMUNITY-DRIVEN_NATURAL-RESOURCE_MANAGEMENT-en.pp...
Date of entry/update: 06 November 2015


Title: Joint submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review
Date of publication: March 2015
Description/subject: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: •This joint submission by the Coalition of Indigenous Peoples in Myanmar/Burma focuses on the collective rights of indigenous peoples, particularly the thematic areas of land, territories, and natural resources, development, and language and cultural rights, with militarization, self-determination, and free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) as cross-cutting issues. •Section A describes the context of indigenous peoples in Myanmar/Burma. It highlights the lack of understanding about the internationally-recognised concept of indigenous peoples, and lack of accurate information about the number of indigenous peoples in Myanmar/Burma. •Section B outlines the normative and institutional framework of the State under Review (SuR) as it pertains to indigenous peoples. It focuses on the policy and legislative framework relating to land use, national bodies with a mandate to address the key issue of land grabbing, and the current peace process in Myanmar/Burma. •Section C draws on human rights documentation collected by member organizations of this coalition, and highlights how control over land and natural resources for development projects in indigenous peoples’ territories is driving violent conflict and related human rights violations. It addresses issues of widespread land confiscation, negative environmental, social, and health impacts, and threats to traditional and sustainable livelihoods from development projects. It also details how militarization, displacement, and oppression have violated language and cultural rights. •Section D puts forward recommendations to the government of Myanmar/Burma..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Environmental and Social Action Network (KESAN)
Format/size: pdf (186-reduced version; 194K-original)
Alternate URLs: http://kesan.asia/media/Documents/Coalition_of_IPs_in_Myanmar_UPR.pdf
Date of entry/update: 21 September 2015


Title: Ethnic Minority Groups / Indigenous People [Myanmar]
Date of publication: September 2014
Description/subject: "Myanmar is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the region, and ethnicity is a complex, contested and politically sensitive issue where ethnic groups have long believed that the Government manipulates ethnic categories for political purposes. Myanmar’s ethnic minorities make up an estimated 30-40% of the population, and ethnic states occupy some 57% of the total land area along most of the country’s international borders. The Constitution makes no reference to ethnic minorities. It instead uses the term “national races”. However this term is not defined by the Constitution, and is generally interpreted by applying the 1982 Myanmar Citizenship Law, which defines the 135 national races in its 1983 Procedures. Under the Citizenship Law, nationals of Myanmar include the “Kachin, Kayah, Karen, Chin, Bamar, Mon, Rakhine or Shan and ethnic groups as have settled in any of the territories included within the State as their permanent home from a period anterior to 1185 B.E., 1823 A.D.” Almost all Rohingya are denied citizenship under the 1982 Citizenship Law – either because they do not meet its stringent and discriminatory citizenship requirements, or where they do, because they lack the documentary evidence required. People of Chinese, Indian or Nepali heritage are mostly denied full citizenship under this law because they do not automatical ly qualify under “national races”...."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business (MCRB)
Format/size: pdf (285K-reduced version; 1.2MB-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.myanmar-responsiblebusiness.org/pdf/SWIA/Oil-Gas/11-Ethnic-Minorities-Indigenous-Peoples...
Date of entry/update: 16 September 2015