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Burma’s Extractive and Environmental Governance in Need of Overhaul

By Shwe Gas Movement  •  July 17, 2013

A new report released by Shwe Gas Movement today reveals glaring weaknesses in Burma’s legal framework regarding the extractive industries, resulting in human rights abuses, environmental damage and poor revenue distribution. A panel of experts was convened today to present the findings of the report.

Good Governance and the Extractive Industry in Burma examines the current laws and conventions in place, measuring what’s missing in Burma against international standards. Research for the report shows major shortcomings in the areas of environmental conservation, human rights, revenue transparency and natural resource management. The report further suggests that new investments should be halted until these gaps in governance are mended.

“Natural resources should be used to benefit the country, not to enrich a select few at the expense of the environment and human rights of the affected communities,” said Wong Aung, Coordinator of the Shwe Gas Movement. “Our country has an opportunity to learn from past mistakes, but instead abuses are continuing in connection to the extractive industries. This must be stopped.”

Calling on civil society, international institutions, transnational corporations and the government of Burma to take equal responsibility in implementing the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI), mandating Environmental and Social Impact Assessments (ESIAs), ensuring human rights and local benefit sharing, the report offers specific recommendations to each of these four audiences on how to achieve good governance.

“Human rights and good governance are closely intertwined. Without human rights, good governance will be meaningless. And without good governance, human rights will not prevail,” said Aung Myo Min, Executive Director of Human Rights Education Institute of Burma, at the report launch today. “Good governance is the basic principle for every citizen to enjoy their right to participation, right to information and government’s responsibility to protect and promote its citizens’ rights. The government must similarly hold companies in the extractive industries responsible to protect and promote both good governance and human rights.”

The release of the report comes just before completion of controversial major extractive projects in Burma such as the Shwe Gas and oil pipelines, and as 30 additional coastal natural gas blocks are currently up for foreign bidding. It follows the May 2013 announcement by Revenue Watch Institute that Burma’s resource governance is the worst in the world.

Contact: Wong Aung – global@shwe.org
Mobile +95 (0)9450065872

Download the press release in Burmese here.

Download the report here.

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

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