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UNION OF MYANMAR:
THOUSANDS AT RISK OF FORCED EVICTION

Update info:
13 May 2015
Country:
UNION OF MYANMAR
Subject:
Period:
16 Jun 2015
Distribution date:
13 May 2015
UA No:
098/2015

Thousands of people are at risk of being forcibly evicted from their homes and farms to make way for the Letpadaung copper mine in central Myanmar. 

On 24 March 2015 the President’s office announced that the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment for the Letpadaung mine project in Sagaing region, central Myanmar, had been approved. There is therefore a high risk that the mining company Myanmar Wanbao will resume operations to take over land for the project and forcibly evict 196 families who have refused to move and thousands of villagers whose land has not yet been taken over by the company. Myanmar Wanbao is a subsidiary of Chinese company Wanbao Mining. 

The Letpadaung project involves the acquisition of 6,785 acres of land, largely farm lands, from 30 villages. It includes the complete relocation of the villages of Zeedaw, Saedee, Kandaw and Wet Hme. Between 2011 and 2014, the Myanmar authorities and Myanmar Wanbao forcibly evicted people without genuine consultation, due process, legal remedies, adequate resettlement and compensation. Myanmar Wanbao has taken over approximately half of the land required for the project from the 30 affected villages and 245 families from the four villages have been moved to resettlement sites. 196 families have refused to move and many people from the other affected villages are refusing to give up their farm lands. These people are now at risk of forced eviction. 

On 22 December 2014, Myanmar Wanbao bulldozed crops and began fencing off more farm lands near the Saedee village after announcing that it would extend its working area. It suspended the fencing two days later, after there were widespread protests about the police’s use of firearms and live ammunition during a clash with community members who tried to stop the bulldozers. The police killed Daw Khin Win, a woman farmer, and injured a few other people. Any attempts to fence more land without resolving outstanding community concerns may also result in further clashes between the police and community members.

Take action

Please write immediately in English, Burmese, Chinese or your own language:

  • Calling on the mining company Myanmar Wanbao to halt any plans to take over the remaining land for the Letpadaung mine and carry out a genuine consultation with all affected persons on the evictions, resettlement conditions and compensation;
  • Urging the company to ensure that conditions in resettlement villages comply with international standards on adequacy of housing and that people who have been forcibly evicted from their homes and farm lands receive adequate reparation;
  • Urging the company to comply with its commitment that it will only use the police to protect its operations when the police guarantee that they will comply with international standards and guidelines on use of force. 

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 16 JUNE 2015 TO:
Chairman and Managing Director Myanmar Wanbao Mining Copper Ltd
Mr Geng Yi
70 (1) Bo Chein Street Pyay Road, Hlaing Township, Yangon
Republic of the Union of Myanmar
Email: gengyi@wbmining.com
Salutation: Dear Mr Geng Yi

President of Wanbao Mining Ltd
Mr Chen Defang
17-19F, West Wing, No.1 Cai Yuan St.
Xi Cheng District, Beijing
Peoples Republic of China
Salutation: Dear Mr Chen Defang

And copies to: 
Minister of Mines, Dr Myint Aung
Office no. 19, Nay Pyi Taw
Republic of Union of Myanmar
Email: deptmine@gmail.com
Fax: +95 67 409 373

President Thein Sein
President’s Office, Nay Pyi Taw
Republic of the Union of Myanmar
Fax: +95 1 6 52 624

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.