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New Survey: Communities Across Burma Denied Voice in Mega-Projects

By Students and Youth Congress of Burma and Nationalities Youth Forum  •  December 12, 2012

The Students and Youth Congress of Burma (SYCB) and Nationalities Youth Forum (NY-Forum) have released a new report entitled “Excluded: Burma’s Ethnic Nationalities on the Margins of Democracy and Development.” The report documents evidence that ethnic nationalities directly affected by development projects in Burma are systematically denied their right to free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC), and are forced to bear the brunt of these projects.

Massive development projects, such as the Shwe Gas Project and the Tavoy Industrial Zone, across the country are forging ahead with next to no consultation of hundreds of thousands directly impacted people. “Our evidence shows that every development project surveyed had some incidences of human rights abuses, including forced evictions, land confiscations, and forced labor,” said Moe Hlaing, Central Committee member of NY-Forum.

Based on data collected through 261 interviews conducted in 7 States and 1 Region, involving 10 ethnic nationality groups and 9 development projects, the report presents several key findings:

 Close to 90% of individuals surveyed did not receive any information about the development project in their area before it began. In all but 2 sites, not one person was given any information.

 Less than 1% said a public forum was held where the local community could attend and less than 2% felt they would not be punished if they sought information about the project.

 Close to half (44.1%) felt unsafe seeking further information about the project, while 45.2% were not sure whether it was safe or unsafe.

 Less than 1% experienced positive impacts from the development project.

On December 9, a cease fire agreement between the government and the Chin National Front stated that the principles of FPIC will be observed in accordance with the will of the Chin people. “The agreement is a positive start, but FPIC now needs to be enshrined in national law and enforced throughout the country, said Naw San, General Secretary of the SYCB. “No project should be initiated until local communities have been consulted in a manner that is consistent with international standards of free, prior, and informed consent. This is a key for sustainable development in Burma.”

For more information, please contact:

(1) Naw San (SYCB): +66(0)8481199594 or sycbcongress@gmail.com

(2) Moe Hlaing (NY-Forum): +66(0)872096809 or lwaymoehlaing@gmail.com

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This post is in: Press Release

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