June 16, 2021
Protect Shan State’s lifeblood, Save the Salween River
Shan Human Rights Day marks the day in 1997 when the Burma Army massacred 56 villagers in Kunhing, during a brutal scorched earth campaign in which hundreds were killed, and over 400,000 uprooted in central and southern Shan State. We reiterate our calls for justice for those killed then, and all killed since by the military now terrorizing the entire country.
The regime’s scorched earth operations in Shan State over two decades ago were aimed to crush the Shan resistance and seize control of the area’s rich natural resources. Since then, the Burma Army has continuously expanded into Shan State, selling off our lands, forests and rivers to the highest bidder. This process has accelerated since the February 1 coup, and now the generals are pushing through long-held plans to sell off the mighty Salween River, the lifeblood of millions in eastern Burma, to hydropower investors. In May, the regime gave the go-ahead for China’s Hanergy to build the first dam on the Salween, at Kunlong in northern Shan State. 90% of the 1,400 megawatts produced will go to China.
Damming the Salween will be a death knell for our beloved river, its fragile ecosystem and the livelihoods of millions relying on it. We urge all foreign investors to immediately cancel their dam plans, or be complicit not only in the regime’s past and present atrocities to secure the dams, but also in the ecocide they will unleash on eastern Burma.
Sai Hor Hseng +66: 94-728-6696 (Shan, English)
Sai Yord Leun +66: 97-173-1530 (Shan, Burmese)