New Report Details The Strategic Business Of Human And Environmental Rights Violations In BurmaPublished by MAC on 2007-02-20
Source: EarthRights International ()
New Report Details the Strategic Business of Human and Environmental Rights Violations in Burma
ERI Press Announcement
20th February 2007
EarthRights International released a 75-page report today documenting human rights violations and environmental degradation in Pegu Division, Burma committed by the ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) and its business partners as they mine for gold, log forests, and construct a dam in Shwegyin township. The report, entitled "Turning Treasure Into Tears: Mining, Dams, and Deforestation in Shwegyin Township, Pegu Division, Burma" highlights the connection between human rights and environmental violations, increasing militarization, and business expansion in eastern Burma.
Based on field surveys and in-depth interviews that began in 2003 and were conducted by ERI in Shwegyin township, this report exposes a rise in land confiscation, displacement, forced labor, travel restrictions, arbitrary taxation, ethnic tension and violence. One Karen farmer noted, "We all suffer, but in different ways.Some people suffer from mining, some from damming, some from taxes and some from other oppression.What we once considered our treasure has now become our sorrow."
In 2006, during the writing of this report, these abuses were ongoing and the SPDC launched a major military offensive throughout eastern Pegu Division and northern Karen state, including Shwegyin township. Chana Maung, Director of ERI's SouthEast Asia programs, observes "as the SPDC expands militarization and strategic business interests in these areas, the abuses will only continue. Moreover, these problems are reflected in the entire country - whether it's the extraction of oil and gas, the construction of hydropower projects, or the mining of natural resources."
According to Ka Hsaw Wa, Executive Director of ERI, "the people are suffering unthinkable abuses while the ASEAN nations stand idly by. There's no progress; this is about controlling the land, natural resources and people, at any cost, and it manifests in gold mining, logging, and other extractive projects. Burma's treasures yield only tears."