Kayah people report environmental impacts, human rights violations resulting from mining

Pyae Phyo Aung

Local residents launched a report about environmental impacts and human rights violations stemming from mining in Kayah (Karanni) State at Orchid Hotel in Yangon on August 17.

The report aims to let people know of environmental impacts and human rights violations in the mining sector of Kayah State, ensure that the local people's sufferings are remedied and ensure emergence of responsible and transparent businesses capable of respecting environmental rules and human rights.

"We hold this report launching ceremony to let the people extensively know about environmental impacts and human rights violations," said Saw L Say from Kayah State Human Rights and Environmental Movement Network. "Sometimes, we were paid money three to six months after we provided the lead for the mining company. Everything is under control of the company. As local people and the company have agreed on a contract, we have to comply with the instructions of the company. Regarding labour rights, there are no healthcare services and human rights protection. Even a child knows whether there is environmental impact or not."

According to local sources, mining business in Kayah (Karanni) State has caused losses and sufferings such as human rights breach, environmental impacts, lack of healthcare, damage to transport infrastructures, lack of safe drinking water, social conflicts, news blackout, restrictions on movement and formation of associations, death threats, insecure life, economic, political and social restrictions, pressure and loss and damage to farmlands and gardens.

Moreover, the region is beginning to see damage to ecosystem such as destruction to rivers and creeks, deforestation, soil depletion and losses of natural resources and water resources.

The report also included those related to the mining sector in Kayah (Karanni) State, violations of human rights of the local people, environmental impacts and weaknesses in responsibility and accountability.