By Myo Thu Aung
Dawei, Myanmar, March 11, 2016
Local people and Civil Society Organizations have urged the new NLD government to reconsider the Dawei Special Economic Zone (SEZ) project after it takes office.
The request came on 7 March during the launch of a new research paper on the Dawei SEZ and subsequent people’s forum held at the Summit Park View Hotel in Yangon.
Dawei Development Organization Coordinator Thant Zin said, “We need to consider the suffering of our people and the country and to protect them. We need to explore ways of how to resolve this problem. The new government needs to review the agreement signed by the outgoing government and what has been done on this project.”
Italian-Thai company and the Myanmar government signed an MOU on the project in 2008 and although construction started it was suspended due to delays. It restarted again in 2015.
A number of concerns have been raised due to the project including land grabbing and non-payment of compensation to those whose lands were taken.
Dawei Women’s Union General Secretary Aye Aye Cho said, “. . . we could say nothing to the military regime and we could do nothing when they were in power. But this government is duly elected by the people so they should respect the people. They must review the pros and cons of this project. If the cons outweigh the pros, they should not continue this project.”
CSOs estimate that the project will affect between 20-36 local villages.