Burma: Press release by people forcibly relocated due to Myitsone Dam project
26 March, 2014
Mungchying Rawt Jat (MRJ)
On March 12, 2014, local people in Aung Myin Tha relocation camp, who had been moved to make way for the Myitsone Dam, carried out a referendum asking people to choose between whether they “Liked” or “Did Not Like” the Myitsone Dam. The aim was to show the real wishes of the affected people.
In total, 1,160 people aged over 18 cast their votes. The result was: 1,086 did not like the dam; 43 liked it, and 33 votes were invalid.
President Thein Sein suspended the Myitsone Dam in 2010. The forcibly relocated local people have demanded to be able to go back to their old villages and live freely, but have not received permission. Meanwhile, CPI company is still trying to push ahead with the dam.
“We protested many time against the building of the Myitsone. Now again we, local people, have clearly shown by voting that 93% of us oppose the dam,” said Daw Ja Hkawn from Mungchying Rawt Jat (MRJ)
The government and the company have proudly claimed in the media that the lives of the relocated people have improved. However, this is different from the real situation on the ground. The houses built for the people are unstable. There is not enough water for household use and for drinking, and it is not clean. There is no access to education and health care. The forcibly relocated people have no land to farm and are facing difficulties to earn their living.
MRJ demands that the local people be allowed to go back to their original homes and enjoy freedom. As in the report by MRJ, ‘Model villages are no model,’ issued in 2013, MRJ also demands the cancellation of all the seven dams planned on the Maykha and Malikha rivers, including the Myitsone.
Daw Ja Hkawn + 959 7820048
Daw Kai Seng + 959 97313 2898
Photo: Ethnic Kachins protest against the damming of the Irrawaddy River in Burma. Credit: Mungchying Rawt Jat (MRJ)