Dawei project residents deny Ital-Thai claims that relocation is “almost done”

Press release by Tavoyan Voice

November 21, 2012

Dawei project residents deny Ital-Thai claims that relocation is “almost done”

Local villagers living in the planned Dawei deep sea port and industrial zone deny recent claims by the Thai project developer that most people have already been relocated from the area.

Over 30,000 villagers from 16 villages in the US$50 billion project area are slated for relocation, but community leaders insist that no one has yet been relocated.

In an interview with the Bangkok Post on November 12, 2012, Premchai Karnasuta, managing director of Italian-Thai Development Plc (ITD), said that “relocation of residents in the project area has been almost done.”

However, ITD representatives are still negotiating compensation rates, and have failed to convince the majority of villagers to move.

“Most people in my village have said they will never move out, even if houses are torn down around them,” said U Awbartha, abbot of the monastery in Mayin Gyi village.


Construction of new houses in a relocation camp in Bawah village, north of the project site, is still underway, and only about 300 houses have been completed. Villagers are reluctant to move there as the site is remote and there is no agricultural land available to carry out their traditional farming livelihoods.

Villagers were shocked that the Ital-Thai managing director had falsely presented the project situation on the ground, for the sake of boosting investor confidence.

“Rather than focusing on international investors, the Thai developers should worry about growing community resistance to the project,” said Lwin Lwin of Tavoyan Voice.

According to the Bangkok Post article, construction of the project is expected to begin in April 2013.


For further details contact:

Lwin Lwin (Phone) (+66 85 250 2982)

Tavoyan Voice is a network of community based groups working to protect and promote human rights in the Dawei area, which disseminates information through its website:   www.tavoyanvoice.com

Bangladeshis join Rohingya in search of opportunity

Camouflaging themselves among Rohingya refugees, many Bangladeshi men are taking risky and secret boat trips to Malaysia, seeking work there as illegal immigrants.

Between October 27 and November 7, two overloaded Malaysia-bound boats, which had sailed from Bangladesh with 245 people aboard, sank near the Bangladesh port of Teknaf.

International media reported that the people on the boats had been Rohingya refugees. But after interrogating 28 people who were rescued, Bangladeshi security agents found that almost half the people were Bangladeshis, not ethnic Rohingyas.

“Since the issue of the Rohingya interests the global community and some Rohingyas were on those two boats, the international media picked up the story. But many incorrectly reported that everyone on the boats were Rohingya refugees,” said Lieutenant Colonel Mohammad Zahid Hasan, head of Border Guard Bangladesh.

In relation to media coverage, he told DW, “It was nowhere reported that almost half of the people on the boats were Bangladeshis. These days on the Malaysia-bound boats sailing from Bangladesh, 60 to 65 percent of the people are Bangladeshis. They are not Rohingyas.”

Rohingya sea route

According to Rohingya community leader Salimullah, the sea route from Bangladesh to Malaysia, via Thailand, was first used by Rohingyas in the mid-1990s.

Stateless Rohingya refugees, who had fled Myanmar to Bangladesh, took boats to reach Thailand, from where they travelled overland to Malaysia. “Soon, some enterprising Rohingyas set up an international human trafficking network to transport desperate people from Bangladesh to Malaysia, following the same route,” said Bangladesh-based Salimullah.   http://www.dw.de/bangladeshis-join-rohingya-in-search-of-opportunity/a-16389164

Military crony U Hmone, the owner of the fish farm in question, on November 19 filed charges at Pantanaw Police Station

Thursday, 22 November 2012 13:02 Phanida
photot credit Nay Zyo Min
The owner of a fish farm in the Irrawaddy delta has filed charges against two reporters and a representative of the International Labour Organization (ILO) for their involvement in a dispute between local farmers in Kyaunggon Township and himself.Military crony U Hmone, the owner of the fish farm in question, on November 19 filed charges at Pantanaw Police Station against Burma VJ Media reporter Myo Kyaw (aka Nyi Htwe) and Kyi Nyein Thaw from New Day Media after they had met farmers, taken photographs and made video of the disputed lake on Monday.Along with Thet Wai from the ILO, the Rangoon-based journalists were charged with trespassing, criminal mischief and conspiracy under Sections 447, 427 and 34 respectively of the Penal Code. The three were later released from police custody on personal bail, according to Kyi Nyein Thaw.“We went to Kyaunggon on Monday to cover news and take footage of a dispute between farmers and the owner of a fish farm,” she told Mizzima. “On our way back home, we were called into the Pantanaw police station and told that the township administrator wanted to talk with us. They questioned us at 5:30 p.m. Then police officers from Kyaunggon arrived and told us that U Hmone was pressing charges against us.”She said that, according to the local farmers, U Hmone’s staff at the fish farm had put rows of bamboo screens in the rivers which acted as dams to keep the fish from escaping. Continue reading “Military crony U Hmone, the owner of the fish farm in question, on November 19 filed charges at Pantanaw Police Station”