Mergui-Tavoy Interview: Saw A---, March 2017


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Mergui-Tavoy Interview: Saw A---, March 2017

Published date:
Monday, September 25, 2017

This Interview with Saw A--- describes events occurring in Ler Muh Lah Township, Mergui-Tavoy District, during the period between 2012 and 2017, regarding a proposed hydropower dam project.  

  • The Italian-Thai Development PLC and the Burma/Myanmar Government Ministry of Electricity conducted a survey for a hydropower dam project in 2012 at Tanintharyi River which is 2.7 kilometres distance away from B--- village, Ler Mu Lah Township, Mergui-Tavoy District. The survey was conducted without local people being informed.
  • Villagers’ farms and plantations which they work on for their livelihoods are situated near the project area of the dam. The proposed hydropower project will flood around 18 villages, as well as farm land and plantations. The road that they constructed also damaged the civilians’ land and plantations.   
  • GMS Power Public Company held a consultation meeting with some village leaders and community based organisations (CBO) staff in Tanintharyi Town Hall, Tanintharyi Township; which is very far from the dam project area, on February 9th 2017. Some representatives of villagers from the dam project area could not attend the meeting because they did not have money for transport.
  • The Burma/Myanmar Government Minister of Electricity held a presentation about the benefits and negative consequences of the hydropower construction project. He said villagers do not have to worry about the damage of the dam project.
  • Villagers do not want the project to go ahead and they worry for their future and security, but they do not know how to stop the project or where they have to report this case to. Therefore, they want any organisations who work on behalf of civilians to give them knowledge and awareness about village agency (strategies) and where they should report the case to.   


[1] KHRG trains community members in southeastern Burma/Myanmar to document individual human rights abuses using a standardised reporting format; conduct interviews with other villagers; and write general updates on the situation in areas with which they are familiar. When conducting interviews, community members are trained to use loose question guidelines, but also to encourage interviewees to speak freely about recent events, raise issues that they consider to be important and share their opinions or perspectives on abuse and other local dynamics.

[2] In order to increase the transparency of KHRG methodology and more directly communicate the experiences and perspectives of villagers in southeastern Burma/Myanmar, KHRG aims to make all field information received available on the KHRG website once it has been processed and translated, subject only to security considerations. For additional reports categorised by Type, Issue, Location and Year, please see the Related Readings component following each report on KHRG’s website.

[3] Italian Thai Development Public Company Limited (ITD) is Thai company with investment in construction of highways, railway, dam, industry in Myanmar and other parts of Asia. ITD construction project have resulted in relocation, destruction of plantation and lack of compensation for villagers, see “Mergui-Tavoy Interview: Saw E---, July 2012,” March 2013. ITD also have investment in Dawei Special Economic Zone (SEZ) which began as a joint venture with Max Myanmar Company. The Dawei SEZ has resulted in environment destruction, threat and forced eviction of villagers, imprisonment of villagers who refused to relocate, destruction of livelihood through plantation, farming and paddy damaged, forced to accept inadequate compensation. Improper facility at relocation site, see “Dawei SEZ Fact Sheet,” Mekong Watch, December 2016. Also see “Proposed Hydropower Dam Project in Tanintharyi Region, Mergui-Tavoy District, 2017”, June 2017

[4] GMS Power Public Limited is a Thai private power company and has projects in China, the Lao PDR, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. For more information see KHRG report “Proposed Hydropower Dam Project in Tanintharyi Region, Mergui-Tavoy District, 2017”, June, 2017

[5] It is not currently confirmed whether both ITD and GMS are working on this project bilaterally although many villagers believe that to be the case. KHRG is currently awaiting follow up information from researchers.

[6] For more information on this meeting, see “Proposed Hydropower Dam Project in Tanintharyi Region, Mergui-Tavoy District, 2017,” July 2017.

[7] This is a colloquial Karen term referring to white person. 

[8] The majority ethnic group in Myanmar, also known as ethnic Burmese or Burman.

[9] In December 2016, KNU signed a Memorandum of Understanding allowing large scale development by certain companies in Tanintharyi Region. Civil society groups strongly disagreed with this Memorandum, see, “Tanintharyi Development Projects Must not Proceed without Transparency and Accountability” December 2016.