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Tavoyan Women Expose Abuses Linked to Dawei Deep Sea Port, Call for Project to be Suspended

By Tavoyan Women's Union  •  September 26, 2013

A new video launched today by the Tavoyan Women’s Union (TWU) exposes how the Thai and Burmese developers of the Dawei deep sea port project are abusing local villagers’ rights. They are calling for an immediate suspension of the project.

The 15- minute video shows how the pristine beauty of the Tavoyan coast is being ravaged and the cultural heritage of the Tavoyan people being threatened by the port and industrial zone, agreed to between Burma and Thailand’s Italian-Thai company since 2008.

12,000 people from six villages are to be evicted after the rainy season to make way for the first stage of the project. In total 30,000 people will have to move from 19 villages in the Nebule area.

Villagers describe emotionally how they refuse to move out and give up their farmlands, where they have grown rubber, cashew and betel nuts for years. Rejecting compensation, they have blocked surveyors from measuring their lands.

Company construction vehicles are ruining local roads, blocking transport and preventing children from going to school. Pleas to mend the roads have fallen on deaf ears, and villagers have had to repair them themselves. At the same time, new roads for the project are blocking existing waterways, causing flooding and destruction of rice fields.

Frustrated villagers are starting to take matters into their own hands. A woman from Mayingyi village, in the planned industrial zone, is shown in front of a home-made barricade across a new road through her cashew plantation. She says she was promised compensation for loss of her cashew trees, but never given it.

The video raises concerns about the environmental and social impacts of the massive project, especially pollution from the planned petrochemical industries and power plants. The TWU is calling for an immediate suspension of the project, and for local communities to be granted the right to Free Prior and Informed Consent to any future developments. “We are not against development,” said Su Su Swe a General Secretary of TWU, “but the Tavoyan people must be allowed to make decisions about our own development and our own natural resources.”

Contact persons: 

Su Su Swe 
General Secretary 
Phone: 09 4250 27681 

Lwin Lwin Hlain
Joint General Secretary (1)

Video links:

Download the press release in Burmese here.

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

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