New report: Women urge halt to expansion of damaging Karenni tin mines
December 11, 2012
The Mawchi tin mines have inflicted decades of environmental and social damage in southern Karenni State and new expansion plans should be halted, according to a new report by a network of local women.
Lost paradise, by the Molo Women Mining Watch Network, details how hundreds of mine tunnels spanning about 3,000 acres have caused lethal landslides, water pollution and deforestation, impacting about 4,500 indigenous villagers.
Health problems, loss of farmlands and depletion of water sources, including the Molo stream that flows through Mawchi into the Salween River, have particularly impacted women. Many are now eking a living as nugget collectors around the mines
Locals are gravely worried by government plans announced in August 2012 to expand the mines, as world demand increases for tin. The mines are jointly controlled by No. 2 Mining Ministry and the military-owned Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited, and are operated by the Kayah State Mining Company Ltd, headed by ex-military officer U Ye Tun Tin, USDP MP for Pasaung township. Two Burma Army battalions provide security for the mines.
Residents of Saethongon village, regularly shaken by mining detonations beneath their homes, fear that further mining expansion will make it too dangerous to stay in the area. A woman was buried alive in her home by a landslide last year.
“Dangerous mines must be shut down immediately,” said Molo network spokeswoman Naw Ah Mu. “Without legal safeguards ensuring protection and benefit for local people, we don’t want any more mining in our lands.”
The Molo network are urging constitutional reform to grant people of Karenni State the right to decide on the sale and use of mineral resources in their lands.
The Mawchi mines have been in operation since British colonial times, and were once the world’s main source of tungsten.
The full report can be viewed on www.karenniwomen.org.
Ah Mu Htoo (Phone: 081 366 0621)
For young women in Karenni State, Burma and the Karenni refugee camps inside the Thai-Burma border, there are very few opportunities to achieve a higher education. Many cannot even finish high school. But education is important for the future of Karenni women, which is why the Karenni National Women’s Organization provides an internship program for several young women from Karenni State and two refugee camps.
In traditional Karenni culture, parents and elderly believe that women do not need to study or attend school. Once they get married, their husbands and relatives will take care of them. But this is a cultural idea that should not limit the next generation of young women.
“KNWO wants the young women to learn more, to study more; and, in the future, we hope that KNWO will be led by these young people,” said Mi Nyo, KNWO’s General Secretary. She said that the expectation of the internship program is that it will improve the skills of the students and prepare them for places in leadership. Because, by focusing more on their education and opportunities, they are also creating opportunities for their friends and other Karenni women.
KNWO was founded in 1993, and runs successfully with the help of my experienced, older members. But the organization recognizes that in order to build for the future, it needs strong, passionate young women who will support these leader and, one day, step into their positions.
So KNWO educates and assist Karenni young woman, preparing them for leadership roles in the future. It is up to the youth to promote the rights and improve the living standards of Karenni women inside the State, IDP areas and refugee camps. By encouraging and helping young women, KNWO hopes to foster their interest and ability to act in the peace process of their state and country.
The organization welcomes young people to become involved in its activities and project areas, especially in the process of women and child protection inside Burma. Because today’s interns will be tomorrow’s role models.
How people involved with capacity-building project can share information, their skills and knowledge- KNWO tries to improve, find opportunities to for women- especially focus on young woman- the objective of the capacity-building program.
women enjoy working with KNWO, working for women