Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Activists condemn Latpadaung report


Wednesday, 13 March 2013 11:22 Khine Khine

Activists involved in the protest against the Latpadaung copper mine project have condemned the investigation commission's final report that says that the copper mine should be allowed to continue operating if certain weaknesses are amended.

More than 100 people staged a demonstration in Yangon on November 26, calling on Wan Bao Company to cease operations at the Latpadaung copper mine. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

On March 12, state-run newspapers published the final report from the Aung San Suu Kyi-headed probe, which said that the project should continue if some economic, social and environmental impacts are addressed.

The report confirmed that white phosphorous had been used against protestors, but said that the mine should not be "unilaterally stopped".

Wimala, one of the leaders of the protest against the project, told Mizzima, “If they choose to continue the project as the report says, we will continue protesting to stop it."

Monks will also be involved in the continued protests, noted Wimala.

Han Win Aung, an activist who took part in the protests, said that he thinks the report is one-sided because it only considers how the project can continue. He pointed out that the report neglects the opinions of the anti-copper mine protestors.

“Our citizens have the right to make objections against the project. We will peacefully make an objection in accordance with the law,” said Han Win Aung.

The report says that protest was sparked by a number of reasons: the project lacked transparency; residents were not adequately compensated for their confiscated lands; and, that they did not get jobs in the project.

Naw Ohn Hla, another activist involved, said, “The matter about compensation will be over in a short period. But, we will continue doing what we should do to prevent environmental impacts.”    

The Commission submitted its final report to the President on March 11. On Tuesday, state-run newspapers reported that a committee to implement the report of the investigation commission had been formed by President Thein Sein.

The new committee comprises 15 members, including: the chairman, Minister Hla Tun; Geng Yi, an official of the Myanmar Wanbao Company; and Dr. Aung Tun Thet, a member of the Myanmar Investment Commission.

On November 29, more than 100 monks and residents were injured during the police’s violent cracked down at protest camps in Latpadaung copper mine area. Two Buddhist monks were severely injured during the crackdown and were sent to Thailand to receive medical treatment.

Aung San Suu Kyi is due to visit the Monywa mine on March 13, according to a report in AFP.
For more background:

  1. Latpadaung Inquiry: phosphorous was used, but mining should continue
  2. Govt denies white phosphorous allegations
  3. Activists demand justice for copper mine attacks

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