Govt urged to halt dam construction on Salween River
14 March 2014: 131 civil society and political parties, and over 30,000 people from four ethnic states, Shan, Karenni, Karen and Mon, have called on the government of Burma to suspend planned construction of dams.
A statement by the groups said that the Union government has worked together with Chinese and Thai investors on six dam projects on the Salween River, which serves millions of ethnic people for their livelihoods.
It also said that the projects would generate a combined capacity of about 15,000 megawatts and that most of the generated electricity would go to China and Thailand.
“Communities in over 60 villages have lost lands and houses due to construction of access roads in preparation for the Kunlong dam in northern Shan State,” it added.
Grave concerns have also been raised over an increasing activity in logging and mining undertaken by the military crony companies along the Salween River.
A 50-year-old Karenni villager said: “With the uncontrolled mining and logging along the Salween river, Karenni state will be destroyed within five years.”
The statement pointed out the fact that the six Salween projects are proceeding in violation of international standards and put stress on the need to ensure transparency and respect for rights of affected communities.
The groups urged Burma’s government, and Thai and Chinese companies to halt their construction plans immediately until there is a political settlement in the country that guarantees constitutional reforms and protection of local people’s rights.#