Burma has one of the most diverse and naturally rich ecosystems in Asia. Ethnic communities throughout the country depend on the ecosystem for their livelihoods and in turn ensure its sustainability. However, under SPDC control, there has been increasing environmental exploitation at the hands of the military regime, armed resistance groups, international investors, and foreign governments. Large-scale development projects such as oil pipelines, roads, ports, and dams destroy the natural environment and threaten communities’ traditional livelihoods. These projects lead to forced displacement of entire villages and other human rights abuses, while lining the pockets of generals and international corporations. Communities have not remained silent; there have been extensive local, regional, and international campaigns to protect the environment and communities of Burma.
“Large dams are being constructed on all of Burma’s major rivers and tributaries by Chinese, Thai and Indian companies. The dams are causing displacement, militarization, human rights abuses, and irreversible environmental damage, threatening the livelihoods and food security of millions. The power and revenues generated are going to the military regime and neighbouring countries. There is complete military control of energy development in Burma and no processes that allow for information disclosure, public participation or implementation of proper standards for dam-building. Neighbouring countries benefit from this situation by gaining electricity without bearing the social and environmental costs.” — Burma Rivers Network
“In Burma, mining occurs at small to large-scale levels involving a range of actors—multinational mining corporations, small local mining operations, and small-scale artisanal miners. Whether it be mining of gold, gemstones, copper, or any of the other plentiful mineral resources in Burma, mining in Burma accounts for widespread environmental degradation, and often occurs alongside basic human rights violations such as land confiscation, forced labor, the right to a healthy environment, and the right to water.” –– EarthRights International
“In cooperation with Burma’s military junta, a consortium of Indian and Korean corporations is currently exploring gas fields off the coast of Arakan State in Western Burma. Discovered in 2004, these fields—labeled A-1 and A-3, or “Shwe” (the Burmese word for gold)—are expected to hold one of the largest gas yields in Southeast Asia. A 1100km overland pipeline will carry the oil and gas from the “Shwe” fields across Burma to China’s southwestern province of Yunnan. The China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) has exclusive purchasing rights to the gas, which will be sold throughout the Middle East and Africa.
“These oil and gas fields are destined to become the junta’s largest single source of foreign income, propping up a military regime that commits serious human rights violations against the people of Burma. If the Shwe Gas Pipeline project is allowed to go ahead unchecked, there will be forced labour and exploitation of entire communities, large-scale human rights abuses, increased militarization, environmental and cultural destruction, land confiscation, and loss of livelihood.” — Shwe Gas Movement
“The Yadana Gas Project in military-ruled Burma is one of the world’s most controversial natural gas development projects. Transporting gas through a pipeline from Burma’s Andaman Sea to Thailand, the project is operated by Total (France), Chevron (US), PTTEP (Thailand), and the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE). Since the project’s beginnings in the early 1990s, it has been marred by serious and widespread human rights abuses committed by pipeline security forces on behalf of the companies, including forced labor, land confiscation, forced relocation, rape, torture, murder. Many of these abuses continue today.” — EarthRights International