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Burmese in India launch 5 day-long sit-in-protest and photo show in New Delhi

December 17, 2012, New Delhi

Burmese in India launch 5 day-long sit-in-protest and photo show in New Delhi



Beginning of the "5-day long peaceful sit-in-protest cum photo exhibition at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi” today, over 40 Burmese activists in India condemn the Burmese government’s brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters who demanded the suspension of Letpadaung copper mine near Monywa, Sagaing Region in Burma last month.

The Burmese peaceful protestors were demanding that the Letpadaung copper mine project be suspended until the crisis was resolved and local people can participate in decisions making process on the use of natural resources and to stop arresting peaceful protestors and release all those who were arrested in connection with the protests.

The protestors also condemned the pre-dawn crackdown on peaceful protestors on 29 November 2012 by the police. The protestors also stated that reforms in Burma cannot be called genuine if such brutal act continues in the country.

For several months, local farmers, human rights activists and Buddhists monks have been protesting against the copper mining project and its damaging impacts. In the early morning of 29 November 2012, police attacked the make shift camps that were set up near the Letpadaung mine, with water cannons, smoke bombs and tear gas. Fire burns through the camps, burning monks and laypeople, most of whom are now seeking medical attention in makeshift hospitals.

Burmese in India launch 5 day-long sit-in-protest and photo show in New Delhi



The Letpadaung copper mine project is a joint-venture between China’s Wan Bao Company and the military-owned Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd. The two parties signed a contract in 2010 to produce copper in Burma. Under the terms of contract for the Letpadaung expansion at Monywa, Wanbao invested US$1 billion. Chinese Wanbao Company is a subsidiary of the state-owned arms manufacturer the China North Industries Corporation, also known as Norinco.

In view of this recent incident over the brutal crackdown on protesters in Saigang divisoion , the Burmese pro-democracy forces in India are organizing a solidarity relay sit-in-protest cum photo-exhibition for 5 consecutive days. Beginning from today December 17 and will continue till December 21, 2012.

Our demands :

To the Burmese Government
To apologize to the monks and affected communities
To suspend the Letpadaung copper mine project until present crisis are resolve and local people can participate in decisions making process on the use of their local resources
To stop arresting peaceful protestors and release all those who were arrested in connection with the protests

To the Chinese Government
To apologize to the monks and affected communities
To suspend the Letpadaung copper mine project until present crisis are resolve and local people can participate in decisions making process on the use of their local resources
To withdraw Wan Bao Company from the Letpadaung Copper Mine Project until present crisis are resolve and local people can participate in decisions making process on the use of their local resources
To ensure Chinese corporations operating in Burma follow Chinese laws as well as international laws and guidelines

Burmese in India launch 5 day-long sit-in-protest and photo show in New Delhi



Burmese Prodemocracy Groups in India
Burma Centre Delhi (BCD)
WZ 110-A, (1st Fl), Bodela,
Vikas Puri, New Delhi -110018, India
Ph: (O) +91-11-45660619
office@burmacentredelhi.org
www.burmacentredelhi.org



To
Mr. Hu Jintao
President
The People’s Republic of China

17th December 2012

C/o
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
50-D, Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi-110021

Dear President,

Burmese democratic forces in India strongly condemn the brutal crackdown on peaceful protestors near Letpadaung copper mine.

The Letpadaung project is a joint-venture between China’s Wan Bao Company and the military-owned Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd. Since the beginning the two companies did not consult the people living in the project areas as they have no concern for safety of their land, livelihood and environment of surrounding communities. For months, hundreds of local farmers, human rights activists and Buddhists monks have been protesting against the copper mine for its negative impacts such as land confiscation and environmental degradation. We also believe you are very much aware of this ongoing crisis.

The pre-dawn crackdown on the demonstrators especially Buddhist monks was unforgivable. We are deeply saddened to see severely burnt monks. Such brutal crackdowns were carried out against the citizens under President Thein Sein leadership which often talks of “democratic principles” and the “rule of law”. We observe that reforms in Burma cannot be called genuine if such brutal act continues in the country.

Letpadaung copper mine will contaminates Chindwin River water, destroy the religious heritage, cause serious environmental loss around the area and nearby Monywa, which is just 15 miles west of the copper mine. More than 7,800 acres of land from 26 villages were already confiscated for the Chinese-backed copper mine project since last year. Appropriate measures should be taken up to mitigate future negative impacts as well give legitimate compensation for damages being already done to the local community.

We therefore call on your government to immediately:
o Formally apologize to the monks and affected communities,
o Suspend the Letpadaung copper mine
o Withdraw Wan Bao Company from the Letpadaung Copper Mine Project until present crisis are resolve and local people can participate in decisions making process on the use of their local resources
o Ensure Chinese corporations operating in Burma follow Chinese laws as well as international laws and guidelines

On Behalf of Burmese Democratic Forces in India

Mr. Kyaw Than
dawnstar88@gmail.com

Mr. Kim
kimbo119@gmail.com

Ashin Panya Zawta
hanyinlat@gmail.com

WZ-109 A, Bodela, Vikas Puri, New Delhi-110018

Burmese in India launch 5 day-long sit-in-protest and photo show in New Delhi



To
U Thein Sein
President
Republic of the Union of Burma
17th December 2012

C/o
Embassy of the Republic of the Union of Burma
3/50 F, Nyaya Marg, Chanakya Puri, New Delhi- 110021

Dear President,

Burmese democratic forces in India strongly condemn the brutal crackdown on peaceful protestors near Letpadaung copper mine.

The Letpadaung project is a joint-venture between China’s Wan Bao Company and the military-owned Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd. Since the beginning the two companies did not consult the people living in the project areas as they have no concern for safety of their land, livelihood and environment of surrounding communities. For months, hundreds of local farmers, human rights activists and Buddhists monks have been protesting against the copper mine for its negative impacts such as land confiscation and environmental degradation. We also believe you are very much aware of this ongoing crisis.

The pre-dawn crackdown on the demonstrators especially Buddhist monks was unforgivable. We are deeply saddened to see severely burnt monks. Such brutal crackdowns were carried out against the citizens under your leadership which often talks of “democratic principles” and the “rule of law”. We observe that reforms in Burma cannot be called genuine if such brutal act continues in the country.

Letpadaung copper mine will contaminates Chindwin River water, destroy the religious heritage, cause serious environmental loss around the area and nearby Monywa, which is just 15 miles west of the copper mine. More than 7,800 acres of land from 26 villages were already confiscated for the Chinese-backed copper mine project since last year. Appropriate measures should be taken up to mitigate future negative impacts as well give legitimate compensation for damages being already done to the local community.

We therefore call on your government to immediately:
o Formally apologize to the monks and affected communities,
o Suspend the Letpadaung copper mine project until present crisis are resolve and local people can participate in decisions making process on the use of their local resources,
o Stop arresting peaceful protestors and release all those who were arrested in connection with the protests.

On Behalf of Burmese Democratic Forces in India

Mr. Kyaw Than
dawnstar88@gmail.com

Mr. Kim
kimbo119@gmail.com

Ashin Panya Zawta
hanyinlat@gmail.com

WZ-109 A, Bodela, Vikas Puri, New Delhi-110018

Burmese in India launch 5 day-long sit-in-protest and photo show in New Delhi




* This info was sent by Burma Centre Delhi (BCD) who can be reached at office(at)burmacentredelhi(dot)org
This Press Release was posted on December 17, 2012.


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