Thilawa Update

All residents from Phase 1 of the Thilawa SEZ Development project have been resettled, but in spite of the many unresolved problems, preparations are being made to relocate the next 2000-hectare area.

During Phase 1, residents were greatly dissatisfied with both the resettlement process and compensation. Two years since relocation, there is still insufficient clean water supply, some families have left the relocation site, and some families are still in debt.

Will lessons learned from the Phase 1 area resettlement process be reflected in Phase 2? From what we are seeing so far, it seems many of the mistakes may be repeated.

Full EIA scoping reports not available in Burmese:

In January this year, EIA scoping reports for each of 3 subsections of the 700 ha area were disclosed. Both the summaries and full reports were disclosed in English, but in Burmese language, only summaries were provided. Continue reading

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Our Villages Aren’t Built on Coal

At the end of last year, activists and people from villages in Myanmar where Japanese companies are poised to build coal-fired power plants came to Japan to speak about their concerns. They made it clear that they are against the implementation of these projects at a public seminar hosted by Japanese NGOs. Below is an English translation (with some minor editing) of the seminar report.

Seminar Report:

“Messages from Myanmar…our villages aren’t built on coal”

Date: Nov 27, 2015 18:00-20:30
Place: GEOC

Organizers: FoE Japan, Japan Center for a Sustainable Environment and Society (JACSES), Mekong Watch, Kiko Network

Supporters: 350.org, A SEED Japan, Aryus Buddhist International Network, Fair Finance Guide Japan.

Program:

  1. “Japan-supported coal-fire power projects in other countries and Japan’s involvement in plans in Myanmar”
  2. Demands of Myanmar’s civil society to Japan
  3. Messages from local people from areas where Japanese companies are planning coal-fired power plants
    1. Mon State
    2. Ayeyarwady Region
    3. Tanintharyi Region

Continue reading

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[Seminar] Outdated Coal for a New Myanmar?! Coal is not our Future.

We Can’t Build our Future on Coal-Fired Power Plants
-A Message from Myanmar/Burma’s Villages to the People of Japan-

Nov 27, 2015 (Fri) 18:00-20:30
Organized by: Mekong Watch, JACSES, FOE Japan, Kiko Network
Location: Global Environmental Outreach Centre (Tokyo)
(1st Floor of UN University, between Shibuya and Omotesando)
http://www.geoc.jp/english/contact/access/

Local people from communities in Myanmar/Burma where coal-fired power plants are being planned are coming to Japan. They want people in Japan to know that they do not want coal-fired power plants. Why are they coming here? Because in spite of the international movement away from coal, the communities are worried that the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) will support Japanese companies who want to construct such plants in several locations. Continue reading

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Dawei: Lost in Development (video)

For a 17-minute introduction to the difficulties being faced by people living around the Dawei SEZ Development Project, see the video below (with Japanese subtitles).

It includes interviews with villagers who lost jobs, land, or homes.

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We don’t want compensation…

“We take good care of our land. It’s thanks to the land that we can live. We don’t want compensation. Compensation doesn’t last. We can’t pass it on to our children. If we can pass on the land, we have nothing to worry about for our descendants.”

MW staff had an opportunity to speak with a woman from a village affected by road construction being done as part of the Dawei Special Economic Zone Development Project (Dawei SEZ) in Southern Burma. When we asked her how villagers found out about the project, she explained how bulldozers suddenly showed up and started tearing up some of the villagers’ fields.

We will put up more information about expected social and environmental  impacts of the SEZ soon. In the meantime, a photo of villagers engaged in rotational upland rice farming along the road link from Dawei to the Thai border.

27trimmed

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Local groups demand accountability upon Japan’s announcement of official involvement in the Dawei SEZ

On August 4th, local community groups from Dawei (southern Burma) sent a letter to the Japanese Foreign Ministry, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) after Japan officially announced its involvement in the Dawei Special Economic Zone (SEZ) development project and related projects.

This is a joint letter submitted by 2 local groups and the Dawei Development Association (DDA), who sent a letter last April to warn Japanese government agencies  of the already existing problems and risks related to the project. Now that the Japanese government has officially joined the Dawei SEZ development project–in spite of the existing problems–the three groups not only raise concerns about expected future problems, but emphasize that Japan is now also responsible for addressing already existing and outstanding environmental and social impacts related to the project. Continue reading

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Japan officially joins in Dawei SEZ; Local groups raise alarm

On July 4th, at the 7th Japan-Mekong Summit held in Tokyo,  Japan, Burma, and Thailand signed a memorandum of Intent (MoI) for development of the Dawei Special Economic Zone. If completed, the Dawei SEZ will be SE Asia’s largest industrial zone (20,451 hectares), and the Japanese government has now pledged to participate. This is also raising hopes of business opportunities among Japan’s corporate sector.

Local groups, however, have been raising concerns about the Dawei SEZ, citing serious environmental, social, and human rights problems. In April this year, local organizations wrote a petition to the Japanese government and JICA calling for Japan to halt its involvement in the Dawei SEZ at this stage. Continue reading

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