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Letter of Concern from Civil Society Organizations in in Myanmar Affected by Blue Moon Support

By 141 Civil Society Organizations  •  January 11, 2016

Diane Miller
President & CEO
Blue Moon Fund
222 W South St
Charlottesville, VA 22902
info@bluemoonfund.org


 Dear Diane Miller,

This letter is to complain about the support that the Blue Moon Fund is providing to a bilateral dialogue on timber trade and industry investment between the governments of China and Myanmar, which has not included the voices of those who would be most affected, contributing to conflict in these areas, and would ultimately benefit the Myanmar Timber Enterprise (MTE), an organization on the US US’s Specially Designated Nationals List (SDL).

We are a group of civil society organizations representing communities and areas affected by Chinese involvement in the cross-­‐border timber trade between Myanmar and China, as well as Chinese investments on lands which are under dispute between the Myanmar military-­‐ government and non-­‐state armed groups, in particular the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO).

Over the past year, we have become aware of the Blue Moon Fund’s financing of the coordination of a bilateral dialogue between the Government of China and the Government of Myanmar, which is said to have the objective to help define the legality of the Sino-­‐Myanmar cross-­‐border timber trade.

We are very concerned about the nature of these non-­‐transparent bilateral dialogues, which have been facilitated by the Chinese NGO Global Environment Institute (GEI). We, as affected and concerned civil society in Myanmar, have not been consulted, even though the discussions are of great importance for people living in and around forests and who rely on their resources in Myanmar. We have been informed their have been closed door meetings, however no one representing civil society has been invited as far as we are aware, which is counter to the spirit of political transition well underway in Myanmar.

We understand now that there is a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), with provisions related to Chinese investment zones in timber processing and investment in “timber parks” (i.e., plantations). Both of these issues are of great concern to the citizens of Myanmar, especially those residing and working in northern Myanmar.

  1. Chinese investment in processing on the Myanmar side of the border may help Chinese traders comply with Myanmar’s log export ban by converting the logs into semi-­‐ processed material. But there are still many aspects of legality that are being ignored, such as customary rights to resources and land, and contested authority over those resources between Union of Myanmar Government and ethnic armed
  2. Chinese investment in development projects has a history of land grabbing, and there is great concern that timber processing zones, and especially any “timber parks”, will further lead to land grabs and thus exacerbate problems leading to greater tenure insecurity.

We appeal to the benefactors and managers of the Blue Moon Fund to consider our concerns, and open a dialogue with us to ensure that the Blue Moon Fund does not inadvertently contribute to the furthering of local communities’ grievances caused by the inequity of natural resource management in the conflict zones of Myanmar. Regional examples of multi-­‐ stakeholder deliberation and negotiation such as those that occurred during the development of the Indonesian SLVK timber legality assurance system serves as an effective example for achieving governance reforms in an inclusive manner.

Inequities over natural resources have driven conflict in the region and have the potential to undermine the peace agreement process in Myanmar, setting us further back rather than moving forward.

We are copying the US Department of State (DOS), as this funding is facilitating a dialogue that involved the Myanmar Timber Enterprise (MTE), who will greatly benefit from this trade and who is still on the DOS’s sanctions list (DSN) for links to the military.

We look forward to your positive response and a more open dialogue.

On behalf of endorsed organisations and networks Sincerely,

Khon Ja

Kachin Peace Network kachinpeacenetwork@gmail.com khonja2014@gmail.com

+95 9 425288899

CC:

  • Minister of Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry, Union of Myanmar
  • Director General, Department of Forestry, Union of Myanmar
  • S. Ambassador to Myanmar

Endorsed Organisations and Networks

  1. Kachin Development Networking Group (KDNG)
  2. Women’s League of Burma (WLB)
  3. Transparency and Accountability Network Kachin State (TANKS) (25 member organizations)
  4. SHINGNIP Legal Aid Network
  5. Burma Partnership
  6. DEMO
  7. All Shan St Shin Thantate Students Union (ရွမ္းျပည္နယ္လံုးဆိုင္ရာ ေက်ာင္းသားသမဂၢ)
  8. Shan Youth Organization Pin Laung
  9. Shan Youth Organization Taunggyi
  10. Southern Shan State youth network (ရွမ္းျပည္နယ္ေတာင္ပိုင္းလူငယ္ကြန္ယက္)
  11. Shan youth
  12. NCERD , N’ Centre for Education and Research Development
  13. Genuine People’s Servants – GPS
  14. Civil Authorize Negotiate Organization (C.A.N-Org),
  15. Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays – Myanmar (PFLAG-MYANMAR)
  1. Youth Circle
  2. Land and Environment Conservation Group- Kutkai (ေျမယာႏွင့္ ပတ္ဝန္းက်င္

ထိန္းသိမ္းေရးအဖြဲ႕ – ကြတ္ခိုင္)

  1. Kachin Youth Organisation (KYO)
  2. Another Development
  3. 8888 Generation Peace and Open Society-Myeik   (၈၈   မ်ဳိးဆက္ျငိမ္းခ်မ္းေရး

ႏွင့္ပြင့္လင္းလူ႕အဖြဲ႕စည္း- ျမိတ္ၤ)

  1. 21. Labour Right Defenders and Promoters (အလုပ္သမားအခြင့္ေရးကာကြယ္ျမင့္တင္သူမ်ား အဖြဲ႕)
  2. Pyo Khin Thit (Ma-U-Bin)
  3. The Seagull: Human Rights, Peace & Development
  4. Wunpawng Ninghtoi
  5. Green Rights Organisation
  6. Mong Pan Youth Association
  7. CKYY – Catholic Kachin Youth, Yangon
  8. Union of Karenni State Youth
  9. Shan Human Rights Foundation
  10.  Action Based Community Development (လူထုအေျချပဳ ဖြံ႕ၿဖိဳးတိုးတက္ေရး လုပ္ငန္းမ်ားအဖြဲ႕)
  11.  88-Rakhine Generation for Social Development (၈၈-ရခိုင္မ်ိဳးဆက္မ်ား လူမွဳဖြံ႕ၿဖိဳးေရးအဖြဲ႔)
  12. Myanmar Lawyers Network,
  13. Upper Myanmar Lawyers Network
  14. Mandalay Peacekeeping Committee
  15. Association of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters- HRDP
  16. Ta’ang students and Youth Union-TSYU
  17. Kachin Peace Network
  18. Twantay Network
  19. Peace & Open Society (Kyaukse Township)
  20. Myanmar China Pipeline Watch Committee
  21. MATA (Mdy Working Group)
  22. Youth pace maker organization
  23. Forum for Democracy in Burma
  24. Action Committee for Democracy Development
  25. Colors Rainbow
  26. Tampadipa
  27. CWK ( Community Work for Kachin )
  28. MATA (Ayeyarwaddy Working Group)
  29. Green Network Sustainable Environment Group -Magway
  30. Hands of Unity Group – Magway
  31. ME – Community Development Center – Magway
  32. Ayar West Development   Organization – Min Bu
  33. Social Care Volunteer Group – Magway
  34. Organic Agro and Farmer Affair Development Group – Pwint Phyu
  35. Natural Sever Community – Pwint Phyu
  36. Myaing Youth Development Organization – Myaing
  37. Farmer Right & Development Organization – Magway
  1. Farmers Union – Magway
  2. Kyauk Htap Community Library – Min Hla
  3. Social Care Volunteer Group – Magway
  4. Magway EITI Watch Group
  5. Lan Pya Kyel : Seik Phyu (လမ္းျပႀကယ္အဖြဲ႔ –   ဆိပ္ၿဖဴ)
  6. Green Future – Ye Nan Chaung
  7. Shwe Ye Nanthar Workers Group: Ye Nan Chaung (ေရႊေရနံ႔သာအလုပ္သမားအဖြဲ႔ –

ေရနံေခ်ာင္း)

  1. Guardian Network -Pakkukku ပညာပါရမီစာႀကည့္တိုက္ – Magway
  2. Mintae Village Development Group – Pwint Phyu
  3. Mount Pone Taung/ Pone Myar Watch Group – Htee Lin (ပံုေတာင္/ပံုညာ ေစာငႀ့္ ကည့္အဖြဲ႔ –

ထီးလင္း)

  1. Youth Gardner Group -Taung Twin   ေတာင္တြင္း
  2. Karen River Watch
  3. Northern Shan State Reginal Civill Society Network
  4. KGG Network
  5. Green and Clean Project, Mandalay
  6. လူထုအေျချပဳဥပေဒကူညီမႈကြန္ရက္ The PLAN: Public Legal Aid Network
  7. Dawei Lawyer Group (DLG)
  8. Dawei Lawyer Network
  9. Dawei Probono Lawyer Network (DPLN)
  10. Myanmar People Alliance (MPA) ျမန္မာလူထုမဟာမိတ္
  11. Metta Development Foundation
  12. Thuriya Sandra Environmentalists
  13. BadeiDha Moe Civil Society Organization
  14. Ledo Network (Shing Bwi Yang)
  15. Kachin Relief Fund
  16. Kachin Community- UK
  17. Kachin Women Peace Network
  18. Patkai Network – Pangsau
  19. Shwechinthae Social Service Group (shwebo)
  20. Humanity Institute (HI)
  21. Sha-it Social Development Organisation
  22. Banmaw CSOs Network
  23. Uak Thon Social Development
  24. Mingalar Foundation(Wai maw)
  25. CHAD
  26. Loi Yang Bum Community Development
  27. Htoi San Local Develpoment Organization
  28. Myusha Social Development Society
  29. Kachin State Farmers’ Network (KSFN)
  30. Justice and Peace Commission (Catholic Bishop Conference Myanmar)
  31. Yangon Kachin Baptist Youth
  1. Tavoyan Women’s Union
  2. Myanmar Youth Social and Education Local Focus (MYSELF)
  3. Pan Pyo Let Youth Centre ပန္းပ်ိ ဳ းလက္လူငယ္စင္တာ
  4. Poet Lovers Association ကဗ်ာခ်စ္သူမ်ား အသင္း
  5. Peace Machine
  6. Independent Youth For Change
  7. MasterPeace Myanmar Club Cry for Peace ၿငိမ္းခ်မ္းေရးရိႈက္သံ
  8. Karuna Spectrum ဂရုဏာေရာင္စဥ္တန္းမ်ား
  9. Golden Generations
  10. Renovator Youth Network
  11. Land Core Group
  12. Arakan Rivers Network(ARN) and
  13. All Arakan Students’ & Youths’ Congress(AASYC)
  14. Rhododendron Integrated Development(RID)
  15. Rhododendron Famers Association(RFA)
  16. K’cho Indigenous Association (KIA)
  17. Farmers And Landworkers Union (Myanmar)
  18. သဘာဝပတ္ဝန္းက်င္ထိမ္းသိမ္း   ကာကြယ္ေစာင့္ေရွာက္ေရးနွင့္ ေတာင္သူလယ္သမားေရးရာ

ေကာ္မတီ (ရွမ္းျပည)္

  1. Legal Equality In Myanmar Organization (LEIMO)
  2. Peace and Justice Law Firm and Legal Aid Center
  3. Resource Rights for the Indigenous People ( RRTiP ) (Naga)
  4. Karen Human Rights Group
  5. EcoDev
  6. Kachin Women Union
  7. BRIDGE
  8. Kachin Lawyer Group(KLG)
  9. Namkyie Parahita Foundation
  10. Organic Farming Group – Pantanaw (သဘာဝ လယ္သမားမ်ားအဖြဲ ့ ပန္းတေနာ္)
  11. Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM)
  12. Network for Human Rights Documentation-Burma (ND-Burma) လူ႔အခြင့္အေရး

မွတ္တမ္းကြန္ရက္ (ျမန္မာႏိုုင္ငံ)

  1. Network for Democracy and Development (NDD)
  2. Yaung Chi Oo Workers Association (YCOWA) ေရာင္ျခည္ဦးအလုပ္သမားမ်ားအဖြဲ့
  3. Mae Tao Clinic (MTC)
  4. Burma Medical Association (BMA)
  5. Back Pack Health Workers Team (BPHWT)
  6. Free Thinkers
  7. Kachin State Conservation Working Group – KCWG
  8. Wimutti Volunteer Group (WVG)
  9. Educational Initiatives Burma
  10. Kachin Women’s Association Thailand (KWAT)
  11. Ngahpe Youth Network

Download the letter in English here.

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