Tuesday, 19 November 2019

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Campaigners exhort China to halt pipeline project

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Severe human rights violations and internal instability stares military-ruled Burma in the face, as the regime prepares to construct a dual gas and petroleum pipeline across the country with help from Chinese firms, campaigners said.

As the state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) embark on the construction of the pipeline that will connect Kyauk Phyu town in Arakan state with China’s Yunnan province, local people along the pipeline route will be subject to severe human rights violations that will in turn lead to internal instability campaigners said.

Protesting against the pipeline project, the Shwe Gas Movement, a campaign group on Wednesday, sent an open letter, endorsed by over 100 Burmese and international organisations, to Chinese President Hu Jintao, exhorting him to halt the project immediately.

Kim, a member of the Shwe Gas Movement in India, during a protest rally on Wednesday in New Delhi said, “With the construction of the pipeline, there will be increasing human rights violations, including land confiscation, forced labour, extra-judicial killings and rapes.”

The nearly 980-kilometre pipeline is planned to be used for transferring oil shipped from Middle East and Africa as well as natural gas from the offshore gas fields of Arakan state to China’s Yunnan province.

“The project will provide the military junta a minimum of 29 billion US dollars over 30 years,” the Shwe Gas Movement said in a press release.

The proposed pipeline will begin in Arakan state and pass through Magwe division, Mandalay division to North-eastern Shan State and onwards to western Yunnan Province.

“China has the power to suspend this project, and rather than being part of the problem, becoming part of a long-term solution by promoting equitable development of the people of the two nations and peace in the region,” said Kim.

The Shwe Gas Movement along with over 100 organisations, in the open letter urged China to suspend the construction of the natural gas and oil pipeline until the impending risks can be mitigated and ensure that Chinese corporations operating overseas follow Chinese laws as well as international laws and guidelines to which China or its corporations are signatories.

The groups also urged Hu Jintao to continue with his earlier efforts to ensure substantive tri-partite negotiations in Burma as a sustainable path to national reconciliation, development, democracy and promoting regional stability.

In protest against the pipeline project, activists in at least 20 countries including India, Thailand, Japan, South Korea and the Philippines on Wednesday held protest rallies in front of Chinese embassies across the world.

Writing by Mungpi, some information provided by Eint Cherry


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