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13 Oct 2014

Human rights & environmental safeguards needed before Dawei economic zone development proceeds, say rights groups

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Plans for the Dawei Special Economic Zone, located along the Thai-Myanmar peninsula, include the development of a deep sea port, an industrial estate, and a road and rail link between Thailand and Myanmar. Civil society groups estimate that 20 to 36 villages, comprising approximately 22,000 to 43,000 residents would be directly affected by the project. Various impacts on local communities have been reported so far, including displacement, inadequate compensation and resettlement, loss of livelihood, and damage to local culture.

In late 2013, the Myanmar and Thai Governments directly took over the project, after the previous private developer allegedly failed to attract sufficient investment.

In October 2014, Thai Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-ocha visited Myanmar to discuss the project. In line with this visit, rights groups led by Dawei Development Association raised their concerns and proposals as to how the project should proceed. Details on the groups’ statements are provided below.