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New Investment in Dawei Project Must Follow International Best Practices

By Dawei Development Association  •  December 11, 2013

Ahead of this week’s Japan-ASEAN summit, the Dawei Development Association calls on the Japanese government, development agencies and investors to refrain from investing in the Dawei Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Tanintharyi Region until international best practices are firmly in place. Japanese investment in the Dawei SEZ is expected to be discussed on the sidelines of the summit between Japan and the 10 member states of the Association of South East Asian Nations from December 13 to 15 in Tokyo.

Last month, Myanmar and Thailand took control of the project from Italian-Thai Development Company (ITD) over its failure to attract investors and decide on an energy source for the SEZ.

Japanese investors must also not invest in dirty industries that will harm local communities and the environment. Local people have already raised serious concerns about the impacts of the Dawei SEZ project and associated dirty industries on their human rights and their livelihoods. On January 4, 2012, in the largest social movement Dawei has ever seen, thousands of people protested against the construction of a coal fired power plant; it was subsequently cancelled.

“Local communities have not been provided with adequate information about the project. They have been forced off their land without fair or equal compensation, and have not had access to adequate housing or livelihoods after being displaced. There is also no remedy for those whose rights have been abused in the process so far. All of these problems must be resolved before new investors get involved in the project,” said Thant Zin, Coordinator of Dawei Development Association (DDA).

“Japan has clear guidelines to protect against negative social and environmental impacts of development projects on local communities. With such serious concerns about the project so far, the Japanese government and investors must be sure to follow these guidelines before investing in the Dawei SEZ”, Thant Zin, Coordinator of DDA.

Japanese Mitsubishi Corporation has already agreed to build a large coal power plant as a part of the Dawei SEZ with the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand and ITD.

“So far, the Myanmar government and ITD have done little to protect the rights, livelihood and environment of the communities in the area of the Special Economic Zone. New investors must carefully review the significant environmental and social impact caused by this project in accordance with international standards,” said Thant Zin, Coordinator of DDA..

Potential investors in the Dawei SEZ must ensure international standards of environmental and social protection, including respecting the right of indigenous peoples to Free, Prior and Informed Consent; disclosing information in timely and appropriate manner and facilitating the participation of local people in meaningful way, in the planning, implementation, and monitoring of the project; refraining from coercion or intimidation of local people and community in the process of involuntary resettlement; avoiding involuntary resettlement when feasible, or at least restoring the living standard and income opportunities of local people displaced; and implementing meaningful and effective measures against corruption.

For more information, please contact:

Thant Zin: +959422190691 or kgkinpyar13.3@gmail.com
Ko Ye: +95 973132317 or yelinm@gmail.com
Bo Bo: +95 949590569 or alc.bobo@gmail.com

Download Dawei Development Association’s letter to the Japanese government here.

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

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