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President announces 30-member Monywa investigation committee

Burma's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi addresses reporters in Monywa after she had been to visit injured monks at the hospital earlier on Thursday. (PHOTO: Hein Htet/Mizzima)
Burma’s President’s Office in Naypyitaw announced on December 1 the names of a 30-strong team to investigate whether the Monywa copper mine project should be continued, and to determine what level of force was used to contain the protests at the site.

The appointments come in the wake of what has been described by many news agencies, including Mizzima, as a violent crackdown when riot police moved in early on Thursday morning to disperse hundreds of protesters at Latpadaung Mountain, an area at the heart of the mine’s projected expansion.

Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been appointed as chairperson of the committee. She will be joined by: three other members of the Lower House of Parliament; three MPs from the Upper House; Khin Maung Swe from the National Democratic Force party; Myo Nyunt of the Democracy and Peace Party; Dr. Win Maung, the chairman of the Myanmar Environmental Institute; retired Ambassador Kyaw Tint, who now works for the Myanmar Human Rights Commission; Min Ko Naing and Ko Ko Gyi of the 88 Generation Students group; representatives of the Ministries of Mining; Agriculture & Irrigation; and Home Affairs; academics; a writer; and various department heads.

The committee has been asked to report on whether the copper mine project adheres to international norms, and assess the social and environmental impacts of the project, as well as its future profitability.

The members will also be asked to review the authorities’ “control of protests and injuries of members of Sangha [Buddhist monkhood]” and suggest whether, in their collective opinion, the project should continue or be suspended.
A report is due to be submitted to the President by December 31, 2012.

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