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Press Statement on Interational Day of Action for Rivers and Against Dams

By Burma Rivers Network  •  March 14, 2014

(33538) ethnic signatories and (131) civil society and political parties in Burma call for immediate halt to dams on the Salween River

(33538) people from Shan, Karenni, Karen and Mon State and (131) civil society and political parties in Burma have signed a petitionurging an immediate halt to the six dams planned by the Burmese government on the Salween River, including the Kun Long/UpperThanlwin, Nong Pa, Man Taung and Tasang dams in Shan State,Ywathit dam in Karenni State and Hatgyi dam in Karen State.

The Salween River is one of the longest free-flowing rivers in the world, and is the lifeblood of millions of ethnic people in Burma.The six dam projects with a combined capacity of about 15,000 megawatts, planned by Chinese, Burmese and Thai investors, arethreatening the future of these people and the rich biodiversity of the Salween basin. Although the ones who will be most affected by the projects are the local communities living along the river, themajority of the generated electricity will go to China and Thailand, leaving very little or no benefits for these communities. Already, communities in over 60 villages have lost lands and houses due to construction of access roads in preparation for the Kunlong dam in northern Shan State. Accelerated logging and mining by military crony companies is also taking place along the river in the potential dam flood zones.

The Burmese government is proceeding with the dams despiteongoing conflict in the ethnic areas, causing increased militarizationto provide security for surveying and construction, with accompanying Burma Army abuses against local civilians. Fighting has intensified in northern Shan State in recent months in areas near the Kunlong dam, the first being built on the Salween.

All six Salween dams are proceeding in violation of international dam building standards, which should ensure transparency and respect for rights of affected communities. The dam sites are strictly guarded, and local people have been given no information about the projects. Downstream communities remain ignorant about impacts on water flows, fisheries and agriculture, as well the dangers of potential dam breaks.

We therefore urge the Burmese, Chinese and Thai governments, and the dam developers, including Thailand’s EGATInternational Co.Ltd, China Three Gorges Corporation, HanergyHolding Company, Hydrochina Corporation, China DatangOverseas Investment Co.Ltd, and Burmese crony companies –International Group of Entrepreneurs Co.Ltd, Shwe Taung and Asia World — to halt immediately their plans to dam the Salween River.

It is especially urgent to halt these mega dam projects while the Burmese government and ethnic armed groups are embarking on anew peace process.  Dispute over natural resources is a key driver of ethnic conflict in Burma, so it will only stoke further war if these projects proceed before this issue has even been brought to the negotiation table.

Instead of destroying the mighty Salween River and creating massive social and environmental problems by building the dams, we urge all stakeholders to protect and preserve this vital biodiverseartery, which has sustained our ethnic communities for generations.

Burma Rivers Network comprises 15 members, including ShanSapawa Environmental Organisation, Karenni Civil Society Network, Mon Youth Progressive Organization, Love Salween Group and Karen Rivers Watch

Media Contact:
Saw Tha Phoe:+959420076282
Sai Khur Hseng:+95931068530
Ah Nan:+66848854154

Endorsed by:
1.PaOh Youth Organization
2.Kachin Development Networking Group
3.Shan Sapawa Environmental Organization
4.Ethnic Community Development Forum
5.Burma Environment Working Group
6.Karen Environmental and Social Action Network
7.Mungchying RawtJat
8.Federation of Trade Union Kawthoolei
9.Arakan River Network
10.Love Salween
11.Karenni Civil Society Network
12.Kuki Women Human Right Organization
13.Kuki Youth Network
14.Mon Youth Progressive Organization
15.All Arakan Students’ and Youths’ Congress
16.Karen Office of Relief and Development
17.Shan Relief and Development Committee
18.Network for Chin Community Development
19.Mon Relief and Development Committee
20.Karenni Social Welfare and Development Centre
21.Karen Youth Organization
22.Karen Women Organization
23.Karen Student Network Group
24.Shwe Gas Movement
25.Arakan Oil Watch
26.Burma Rivers Network
27.Kayan New Generation Youth
28.Salween Watch
29.Chin Rivers Watch
30.Sein Yaung So Activities
32.Sein Yaung So Myintkyina
33.Kachin State Political Poisoned Group
34.Sein Yaung So Kather
35.88 Open Society Group
36.88 Open Society
39.Former Political Prisoners
40.88 New Generation
41.Sein Yaung So (Sint Kai)
42.Sein Lann Pyin Oo Lwin
44.Sein Yaung So (Kyaut Se)
50.Sein Yaung So (Tada-U)
51.Sein Lann Moe Gote
52.Green Network (Magway)
53.Tamar Ayeat (women group)
54.Grow Back for Posterity
55.Second root group
56.The voice Daily
57.Green for All
59.Ko Kyi Phyu
60.Sein Yaung So (Sa Kyin)
61.Tree Lover
62.Pyoe Khinn
63.Kachin Farmer Network
68.ကခ်င္ျပည္နယ္ ဒီမုိကရစ္တစ္ပါတီ
76.Karen Students’ Center
77.Triangle Women Support Group
78.Gender and Development Initiative Myanmar
79.Myanmar Coalition for Transparency and Spectrum Network
80.Karen Environmental Network
81.Kachin Peace Network
82.Kachin Women Peace Network
83.Chin Natural Resource
84.MIDO Myanmar ICT Development Organization
85.Equality Myanmar
86.Padae Thar Moe
88.Ayeyar West Development Organization
89.Association of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters
90.Community Response Group (ComReG)
91.Chin Natural Resource Watch Committee
92.Federation of Student Unions (Organizing Committee)
93.Gender Equality Network
94.Green Network (Magwawy)
95.Myanmar – China Pipe Line Watch committee
96.Myanmar Coalition for Transparency
97.Nadi Chindwin Myit Min Thalar (Monywa, SagaingRegion)
99.Shan New Generation
100.Shwebo Shwe Chinthae Social Service Group (Shwebo,Sagaing Region)
101.Village Mobility Working Group
102.Civil Authorize Negotiate
103.Mandalay Youth
104.Generation Wave
106.ေမတၱာ Campaign
107.SSSG ေရႊဘို
108.MEE Net
109.အဖြဲ႕ခ်ဳပ္ (ဗ.လ.သ)
111.Access Youth
112.Myanmar LGBT Rights
117.Thazin Legal
119.Kyuakpyu Social Network Group
120.Kyuakphyu Rural Development Association
121.AD 2030 Vision
122.Arakan Civic and Rural Development
123.Dawei Development Association
124.Dawei Research Association
125.Tar Ka Paw
126.Dawei Lawyer Group
127.Community Sustainable Livelihood Development
128.Dawei Human Right Watch
129.English for Myanmar Centre
132.Karen Rivers Watch

Download the press release in English here

သတင္းထုတ္ျပန္ခ်က္ ျမန္မာဘာသာကို ဤေနရာတြင္ ေဒါင္းလုပ္ရယူႏိုင္ပါသည္။

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