Jun 02, 2015On March 14, 2014, on International Day of Action for Rivers and Against Dams, more than 200 people, including members of the Burma Rivers Network, participants from Araken State, Shan State, Karenni, and Karen State and local residents from Mawlamyine, the Mon State capital gathered on "Kaw Mu Pone" Island in the Salween River delta near Mawlamyine to take action to protect the rivers. Following government reforms and for the first time in Burma's history civil society groups and dam affected indigenous and ethnic community representatives to came together on the International Day of Action to raise their concerns regarding dam projects in their areas that have disrupted their lives or threaten to do so. The event was jointly organized by Karen Rivers Watch (KRW) and the Burma Rivers Network (BRN) for the purpose of raising awareness on the impacts of dam, motivating people, and presenting the results of their signature campaign against the six Salween Dams.
Jun 02, 2015On 5 February 2014, thousands of people in the Kamoethway Area gathered on the bank of the Kamoethway River to conduct the opening ceremony for the establishment of the "Htan Ta Bin" Fish Conservation Area. The conservation area is located in Kamoethway Area, LerDoh So Township, Dawei District in Karen State. The local elders once protected this area. However, the unstable political situation of recent decades made it difficult to effectively manage conservation. In 2004, an unusual land slide in the upstream area of the Kamothwey River destroyed several habitats for fish andother aquatic life. Currently, the Htan Ta Bin Fish Conservation Area is the only area of the Kamoethway River that is still healthy.Today, as the situation has improved somewhat because of the ceasefire,local people have decided to more effectively protect this area again.
Jun 02, 2015On 14 March 2014, the International Day of Action for Rivers and Against Dams was organized by Karen Rivers Watch in collaboration with several community organizations in Mutraw District. The event was held in Taung Kyararea, Bu Tho Township, Mutraw District, the area where one of the six Salween dam projects, the Hat Gyi Dam, is located. This is the first time that Karen Rivers Watch, community organizations and communities have commemorated the International Day of Action for Rivers and Against Dams in this area. In total, over 300 people, including people from 11 villages along the Salween River, representatives from the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), and some civil society groups such as the Karen Women Organization and the Karen Student Network, joined the event. The event was organized to motivate the people in the area to stand against the Salween dams together and to raise their voices and their concerns so that decision makers will hear them, as well as to show solidarity with other dam-affected groups holding events in other parts of Burma/Myanmar to mark this day. "We want to express that we do not want the Hat Gyi Dam or any other dam planned to be built on the Salween River," said Naw Hsa Moo, a member of Karen River Watch. Currently, six mega dams are planned to be built on the Salween River, five on the mainstream and one on a tributary. The dam projects are proceeding secretly. One of the six dam projects, Kunlong Dam in northern Shan State, is already going ahead. Due to the construction of access roads in preparation for the Kunlong Dam, communities in over 60 villages have lost their lands and houses already, according to Shan Human Rights Report. According to a Burma Rivers Network press statement on 14 March 2014, conflict over natural resources is a key driver of war and conflict in Burma/Myanmar. Instead of looking for a solution to the conflict, the Burma/Myanmar government is trying to implement these dam projects before everyone is ready for development. If the government continues with these mega projects, it will only make the conflict worse. In Karen State, the conflict between the government and the Karen National Union (KNU) has been going on for more than 60 years. Although the government and ethnic armed groups, including the KNU, entered a ceasefire agreement in 2012, so far there is no concrete political agreement that will guarantee genuine peace and the well-being of the people. Instead, while both sides are trying to build trust, the government is sending more troops, rations, supplies and has made their military camps stronger, especially in Mutraw District where the Hatgyi Dam project is located. In an interview with Karen Rivers Watch,Major Saw Kler Doh, the commander of the Karen National Liberation Army's 5th Brigade, said: "After we and the government entered the ceasefire, there have been clashes between us several times. Sometimes it happened because the government troops tried to cros...
Jun 02, 2015This is a short documentary film which describes how land grabs create displacement, poverty as well as negative impact on the environment in Dawei division, Burma/ Myanmar. Under the former military regime, land grabbing became and it still a widespread systematic practice in Burma/Myanmar. Government bodies, particularly military units, seize large tracks of farmland usually without compensation. Some of the land has been used for the expansion of military bases and new government infrastructure projects. Other areas are being used for commercial projects either run by the military or by the companies.
Jun 02, 2015The Thaukyekhat - 2 Hydropower Dam is located on the bank of the Thaukyekhat Stream, 14 miles east of Taungoo, Bago Division, Burma/Myanmar. It is a concrete dam, 1,253 feet wide and 308 feet high. Its projected capacity is 604 million kilowatt hours, according to the Myanmar Ministry of Electrical Power No.1. The hydro-power dam projects were initially started by the former Burma military government. But as the government couldn't continue the construction, the Asian World Company stepped in and took over the dam projects in November 2007. According sources from Karen News (http://karennews.org), in 2006, 73 families from Htone Bo village had to move out of their village to make way for the dam projects. As of today, a total of 93 families have been relocated. For their losses, the villagers want the company to pay them compensation. The villagers have demanded 7 - 8 million kyat per family from the company. However, the company doesn't want to pay this amount because there are so many families needing compensation. They want to pay only 1.5 million. The former village chief demanded that the company build a library, a clinic, a road, and a bridge for the community, as well as provide water and electricity. He also said that the company should build a church and a school, and also pay the requested compensation. The company has complied with most of these demands, apart from the compensation. The villagers also submitted a letter to the parliament, calling for the Farmland Investigation Commission to investigate the problem. However, so far no action has been taken. Since "it will take a long time, wait" is what the villagers always been told, they are losing their faith that they will ever receive this compensation. "If they want to give us compensation, then let them give it to us. If they don't want to, then what can we do, right? It is in their hands. We will only get it when they are willing to pay. This is very hard," said by Htone Bo villager.