MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Burma Update

Published by MAC on 2007-01-10


Burma Update

The valley of darkness

10th January 2007

The Kachin Development Networking Group last week published a major report on one of the worst gold mining areas on our planet. Worst, that's to say, in terms of human rights violations (especially against women and indigenous communities), environmental despoliation, the appalling health impacts of mercury usage and opiates, and related transmisison of HIV/Aids.

The report is all the more important, because of the paucity of research into conditions in Burma throughout the almost-two decades of suppression of information by the military regime.

It's scarcely surprsiing that the report's authors find the regime to be at the root of the abuses recorded, and to be benefitting from them financially.

But they aren't the only ones..

Thanks to the efforts of Peter Popham of the UK Independent newspaper, we also learn more about the highly dubious involvement in this blighted region of a US NGO.

The Wildlife Conservation Society seems to be turning an unseeing eye on the consequences of its partnership with the military, which it justifies by saying:: "It's much harder to get conservation done in democracies than in communist countries or dictatorships."

To download "Valley of Darkness: Gold Mining and Militarization in Burma's Hugawng ValleyKachin", please go to:

http://www.burmacampaign.org.uk/reports/ValleyofDarkness.pdf

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