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Report of Evidence Regarding Controversies at Letpadaung Hill Copper Mine Project

By Lawyers Network and Justice Trust  •  February 14, 2013

Executive Summary

This report was prepared by Lawyers Network, an independent association of leading lawyers throughout Myanmar, and Justice Trust, an international group that supports national efforts to advance rule of law and human rights. It concerns recent controversies at a Letpadaung copper mine, a joint venture between Wanbao Mining, a subsidiary of North China Industries Corporation (NORINCO), a Chinese military-owned defense company, and Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited (UMEHL), the largest military-owned holding company in Myanmar.

The purpose of the report is to assist the Government and peoples of Myanmar to determine the truth of what happened and to advance justice in accordance with the rule of law.

The report contains evidence regarding three main issues:

  • enforceability of contracts signed by local villagers in April 2011 allowing their farmlands to be used by the copper mine,
  • legality of repeated police denials of citizens’ right to peaceful assembly, and
  • legality of the police action taken to disperse peaceful protesters at the copper mine site on 29 November, 2012.

The report is divided into six sections:

  1. summary of the current transition towards rule of law and democracy in Myanmar,
  2. overview of the law of contracts,
  3. description of the factual circumstances leading the villagers to sign contracts with the Wanbao-UMEHL joint venture,
  4. overview of the right of peaceful assembly and the principles governing the use of force in law enforcement,
  5. description of the factual circumstances leading to the police action against protesters, and
  6. analysis of white phosphorus military munitions used by police against protesters.

The evidence was collected during multiple site visits to Letpadaung and is based on eyewitness testimonies, interviews in hospital with injured protesters, legal documents, and photographs and video footage. In addition, an exploded grenade canister used by police and recovered from the Letpadaung protest site was analyzed at an independent chemical lab to determine its phosphorus content. [Please see Attachment I: ALS Test Report and Analysis.

Click here to Download the full report.

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This post is in: Business and Human Rights, Environmental and Economic Justice

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