Burma Rivers Network 14 March 2012
Statement on the International Day of Action for Rivers
Burma Rivers Network urges dam builders from neighboring countries to stop pushing ahead with mega dam projects on Burma’s major rivers in spite of strong local opposition.
BRN is gravely concerned at the announcement on March 10, 2012, by China Power Investment Corporation’s President Lu Qizhou that CPI is hoping to restart construction of the Irrawaddy Myitsone Dam, despite nationwide popular opposition to the project, which resulted in Burmese President Thein Sein’s suspension of the dam last September.
CPI has not moved its equipment from the Myitsone dam site, and has not stopped road building in the area, where it is proceeding with construction of six other mega-dams on the Irrawaddy tributaries, even though fighting has been raging between the Kachin Independence Army and Burmese government forces.
Chinese, Thai and Indian companies are also proceeding with mega-damson other major rivers, causing serious social and environmental impacts, and ignoring the wishes of local peoples.
Peaceful ceremonies by dam-affected communities to mark the International Day of Action for Rivers are being held today inside Burma at the Salween, Shweli and Chindwin Rivers “People across Burma are standing up today for their right to protect their rivers and livelihoods,” said BRN coordinator Sai Sai.
BRN is strongly encouraged by the announcement by Yunnan provincial leader Qing Guang Rong on March 11, 2012, that they are heeding public concerns, and will ensure that environmental protection concerns and social impacts will be addressed before dams on the Nu/Salween River are built. BRN urges Chinese companies to adhere to international standards for environmental and social impacts, instead of taking advantage of the lack of environmental safeguards in Burma.
“Our rivers, ecosystems and communities are all connected,” said Sai Sai. “Our neighbors should cooperate with us to protect our shared environment, instead of destroying it.”
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