Protests against destructive Chinese pipelines in Burma

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130 organisations in over 20 countries held demonstrations on 1 March 2012 and submitted letters calling on Burma’s President Thein Sein to postpone China’s trans-Burma oil and gas pipelines project.

Burma pipeline protest
Protesters gathered outside the Chinese consulate to demand an end to the controversial Shwe Gas pipeline though central Burma. Photograph: shwe.org

The letter expressed serious concerns over human rights abuses as well as the social, economic and environmental impacts of the Burmese, Chinese, Korean, and Indian company-led project.

The Shwe Gas Project and trans-Burma oil and gas pipelines are currently under construction, originating off Burma’s western coast and terminating in China’s Yunnan Province, and set to come online in 2013. The project will become the country’s largest source of foreign revenue generating US$29 billion over 30 years.

The open letter to Thein Sein strongly condemns the confiscation of the thousands of acres of farm lands for the project, and the military offensives against ethnic armies in the pipeline corridor in Northern Shan State. The letter references the previous suspension of the Myitsone Dam and Dawei coal-fired plant and “call[s] for a consistent policy of social and environmental accountability, and an immediate postponement of the project”.

The Shwe Gas will be exported to China while around 75 per cent of the population is not receiving electricity from the national grid. “Resentment to these pipelines is growing day by day, Thein Sein should listen to the will of the people” said Wong Aung.

Revenues from oil and gas are not managed transparently in Burma. “Under the current unaccountable structure, gas monies from the project will only feed corruption and not benefit the people” said Wong Aung of the Shwe Gas Movement.

The Shwe Gas Movement advocates for community members’ rights and an equitable benefit sharing system under a framework of sustainable development.

Source: Shwe Gas Campaign


Open letter to President Thein Sein: Postpone destructive Chinese pipelines in Burma

U Thein Sein
President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar
Nay Pyi Taw
Myanmar

1 March 2012

Dear President U Thein Sein,

The undersigned are writing to express our concern about the Shwe Gas and Trans-Burma Pipelines Project led by Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise and the Chinese state-owned China National Petroleum Company. There are a number of serious social, economic and environmental impacts of this project, including human rights abuses. We are calling for the government to postpone this project until rights are protected and negative impacts are prevented within a sustainable framework for national development.

The project is exporting valuable natural resources and missing an opportunity to contribute to national development while at the same time causing destructive impacts to local communities and the environment, including ruining livelihoods and increasing militarisation and abuses. Several civil society organizations including the Shwe Gas Movement have documented these impacts.

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Thousands of acres of farm lands have been confiscated in Arakan and Shan States and Magwe and Mandalay divisions to clear the way for the pipeline corridor and related infrastructure. The livelihoods of local fishing families in Arakan State have been destroyed due to development of offshore infrastructure for the project.

Militarisation has been heightened along the pipeline corridor, causing internal displacement and sparking new resentment against the Shwe Gas Project and other natural resource exploitation projects like it.

We believe that Burma’s natural resources have the potential to spur the national economy without harming local communities. These projects should be based on a sustainable framework for development which includes meeting domestic energy needs instead of exporting valuable natural resources and protecting community rights to their lands and livelihoods through genuine consultation and free, prior and informed consent for projects that will directly affect their lives. In addition, any revenue from such projects must be used transparently for sustainable development of the country.

Your government recently announced the suspension of both the Irrawaddy Myitsone Dam and the coal-fired power plant in Dawei due to the negative impacts of the projects and concerns from the people. Due to the harmful impacts of the Shwe Gas and Trans-Burma Pipelines Project, we call for a consistent policy of social and environmental accountability, and an immediate postponement of the project.

This project is risky business for all parties involved and has the potential to create and/or further inflame conflict in Burma. By acting now to postpone the Shwe Gas and Trans-Burma Pipelines Project and taking steps to deal with the problems listed above, the government will greatly improve its reputation among the citizens of Burma and internationally.

Sincerely,

Shwe Gas Movement

And

Forum for Democracy Burma (FDB)
All Burma Federation of Student Unions (Foreign Affair Committee) (ABFSU – FAC)
All Burma Students’ Democratic Front (ABSDF)
Burmese Women’s Union (BWU)
Democratic Party for a New Society (DPNS)
Network for Democracy and Development (NDD)
People’s Defence Force (PDF)
Yaung Chi Oo Workers Association (YCOWA)

Women League for Burma (WLB)
Burmese Women’s Union (BWU)
Kachin Women’s Association-Thailand (KWAT)
Karen Women Organization (KWO)
Karenni National Women’s Organization (KNOW)
Kuki Women’s Human Rights Organization (KWHRO)
Lahu Women’s Organization (LWO)
Palaung Women’s Organization (PWO)
Pa-O Women’s Union (PWU)
Rakhaing Women’s Union (RWU)
Shan Women’s Action Network (SWAN)
Tavoy Women’s Union (TWU)
Women’s Rights and Welfare Association of Burma (WRWAB)
Women’s League of Chinland

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Student and Youth Congress of Burma (SYCB)
All Arakan Students’ and Youths’ Congress (AASYC)
All Burma Students’ Democratic Front (ABSDF)
All Burma Students League (ABSL)
All Kachin Student and Youth Union (AKSYU)
Arakan League for Democracy – (ALD-Youth Wing Exile)
Democratic Party for a New Society – Youth (DPNS- Youth)
Karen Youth Organization (KYO)
Kayan New Generation Youth (KNGY)
Kuki Students Democratic Font (KSDF)
Mon Youth Progressive Organization (MYPO)
National League for Democracy – Liberated Area, Youth (NLD- LA, Youth)
Naga National League for Democracy – Youth (NNLD –Youth)
Pa-O Youth Organization (PYO)
Tavoyan Youth Organization (TYO)
Ta’ang Students and Youth Organization (TSYO)
Zomi Students and Youth Organization (ZSYO)

Nationalities Youth Forum (NY Forum)
All Arakan Student and Youth Congress (AASYC)
All Kachin Student and Youth Union (AKSYU)
Arakan Youth Network Group (AYNG)
Chin Students Union (CSU)
Kayan New Generation Youths (KNGY)
Karen Youth Organization (KYO)
Karenni Students Union (KSU)
Karenni National Youth Organization (KNYO)
Mon Unity League (MUL)
Pa-O Youth Organization (PYO)
Ta’ang Students and Youth Organization (TSYO)
United Lahu Youth Organization (ULYO)

Network for Human Rights Documentation-Burma (ND-Burma)
Assistance Association for Political Prisoners – Burma
All Arakan Students’ and Youths’ Congress
Chin Human Rights Organization
Earth Rights International (ERI)
Human Rights Documentation Unit Human Rights Education Institute of Burma
Human Rights Foundation of Monland
Kachin Women’s Association-Thailand
Lahu Women’s Organization
Palaung Women’s Organization
Ta’ang Students and Youth Organization
Yoma3 News Service

Burma Rivers Network (BRN)
Arakan Rivers Network (ARN)
Kachin Development Networking Group (KDNG)
Karenni Development Research Group (KDRG)
Karen Rivers Watch (KRW)
Kuki Student Democratic Front (KSDF)
Kayan Youth Network Group (KYNG)
Lahu National Development Organization (LNDO)
Mon Youth Progressive Organization (MYPO)
Shan Sapawa Environmental Organization (SAPAWA)
Ta-ang Students and Youths Organization (TSYO)
The Network for Education and Empowerment Development (NEED)

Ethnic Community Development Forum
All Arakan Students’ and Youths’ Congress (AASYC)
Delta Community Development Network (DCDN)
Kachin Development Networking Group
Karen Office of Relief and Development
Karenni Social Welfare and Development Centre
Network for Chin Community Development
Mon Relief and Development Committee
Shan Relief and Development Committee

Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)
Arakan Oil Watch (AOW)
Bridging Rural Integrated Development and Grassroots Empowerment (BRIDGE)
Earth Rights International (ERI)
Kachin Development Networking Group (KDNG)
Network for Environmental and Economic Development (NEED)
Shwe Gas Movement (SGM)
Shan Sapawa Environmental Organization (Sapawa)
The Lahu National Development Organization (LNDO)
The Karen Environmental and Social Action Network (KESAN)
The Pa-Oh Youth Organization (PYO)

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Arakan League for Democracy (Exile)
Arakan League for Democracy-ALD (Exile) Japan
Arakan League for Democracy (Exile-Europe)
Arakan League for Democracy (Exile-England)
Arakan League for Democracy (Exile-Malaysia)
Arakan League for Democracy-Thailand Arakan National Council (ANC) (Malaysia)
Arakan Freedom Movement Committee (AFMC) (Bangladesh)
ANFU (Bangladesh)
Arakan Human Rights and Development Organization (AHRDO)
Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP)
All Burma Democratic Lusei Women’s Union (ABDLWO)
Burma Information Team (BIT)
Burmese Community Resource Centre (BCRC)
Burma Partnership
Burma Lawyer Council
Burma Centre Dehli (India)
Cho Ethnic Association (CEA)
Chin Refugee Committee (CRC)
Delhi Empowerment Foundation
Foundation of Education Development
Human Rights Education Institute of Burma (HREIB)
Kachin Refugee Committee (KRC-Delhi)
Kachin State National Congress for Democracy (Liberated Area-Japan)
KNCD (LA-JB)
Karenni (Kayah National Society –Japan (KNS-Japan)
Karen National Union –Japan (KNU-Japan)
Karen National Community –Japan (KNC-Japan)
Kachin Environmental Organization (KEO)
Matu Youth Organization (MYO)
Mekong Migration Network
Migrant Assistance Program (MAP THAILAND)
Naga National League for Democracy (NNLD)
Punnyagari Mon National Society-Japan (PMNS-Japan)
Palaung National Society (PNS-Japan)
Pa-O National Society-Japan (PNLS-Japan)
Rakhine Patriotic Literature Club (RPLC)-Thailand
Sasanamuli
Shan National for Democracy –Japan (SND-Japan)
Shan State National for Democracy –Japan (SSND-Japan)
Women Rights and Welfare Association of Burma (WRWAB)
Zanniat Youth Organization- Zanniat Mino Pawlkom (ZYO-ZMP)
Zomi National Congress
Zomi Women Union (ZWU)

International
Alternative Asean Network on Burma – Altsean-Burma (Thailand)
Association Suisse-Birmanie, from Geneva Switzerland (Switzerland)
Austrian Burma Center (Australian)
Burma Campaign (UK)
Burma Campaign South Africa (Africa)
Burma Campaign Australia (Australian)
Burma Campaign Korea (South Korea)
Korea House for International Solidarity (KHIS)
South Korea Canadian Friends of Burma (CFOB) (Canada)
Cambodians for Resource Revenue Transparency (CRRT)
Dictator Watch
Earth Rights International (USA/Thailand)
Foundation for Ecological Recovery, Thailand (Thailand)
Free Burma Coalition (Philippine)
Hong Kong Coalition for a Free Burma
Interfaith Cooperation Forum (Hong Kong)
INFO BIRMANIE
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) (France)
Institution for Essential Services Reform (IESR) (Indonesia)
Journalists’ Forum Assam, Northeast India- (India)
KontraS, Indonesia (Indonesia)
Norwegian Burma Committee (Norway)
Project Maje, Portland, Oregon (USA)
Solidarity for ASEAN People (SIAP)
Swedish Burma Committee (Sweden)
The Best Friend Library-Chaing Mai

Shwe Gas Movement is a community based organisation campaigning against the Shwe Gas Project and China’s Trans-Burma Pipelines, for Human Rights, Environmental Justice, and revenue transparency in the oil and gas sector in Burma.

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