burma | archives of global protests | www.agp.org

Protest against Salween projects

Mizzima News www.mizzima.com

February 28, 2007 - Environmental activists in different countries staged protests on Wednesday against the construction of hydro-electric projects on the Salween River in Burma in collaboration with Thailand and China . Salween is still a free flowing river in Southeast Asia.

In Thailand, residents in the project area have appealed to the Thai government not to go ahead with its plans to construct five dams at a cost of several billions dollars on the Salween River in eastern Burma.

"Thai authorities should undertake a proper assessment of the social impact on people and carry out an environmental assessment first. Otherwise, we have asked that they halt the project," said Sai Sai, one of the campaigners to Mizzima.

The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) and China's Sinohydro Corporation will jointly invest in the construction in the one billion dollar Hatgyi dam, one of the five hydro-electric power projects on the 2,800 kilometers long river.

In 2005, under former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's government, the Thai Energy Ministry and Burma's Ministry of Electric Power signed a memorandum to build the dams.

The projects cover territories in Karen, Karenni and Shan states in Burma and campaigners claimed up to 100,000 people will be displaced and forced to take shelter in refugee camps along the Thai-Burma border.

Activists in 19 countries including India staged demonstrations or submitted protest letters against the Salween dams to Thai embassies and consulates.

About 50 Burmese demonstrated in New Delhi this morning.

"There are more government troops in the project areas and more human rights violation in the localities. So more refugees have come to the camps and more will be coming if the projects are carried on," said campaigner Lum Lum.

Rimond Htoo from Karenni National Progressive Party said " We believe the projects would bring more disadvantages then advantages. That's why we can't agree to it."

"People have been relocated to the opposite side of the river. They have lost paddy fields. Moreover, there are more government troops which they claim are for security reasons, " he added.

A group of people protested against the Salween dams at Maesot, the Thai border town with Burma this evening.

burma | salween dams | www.agp.org (archives) | www.all4all.org