Environmental network demands incoming govt end Salween Dam projects

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Save the Salween Network (SSN), a group of nine river protection and ethnic civil society groups, has called on the incoming government to halt all projects on the Salween River, which extends through China, Myanmar and Thailand, The Irrawaddy reported.

An SSN statement released on Monday urges the new government to stop all plans to build dams on the Salween River, as they will have disastrous impacts on the lives of countless ethnic communities in Myanmar.

Saw Tha Phoe of Karen River Watch, a network member, said that the SSN is worried about news of an agreement between the Chinese and Myanmar governments on Feb 2 to build 18 new dams along Myanmar’s rivers, though details of the agreement were not publicized.

According to Saw Tha Phoe, six hydropower dams are already underway on the Salween River: Kunlong, Mann Taung, Mong Ton (Tasang) and Naung Pa in Shan State, Ywathit in Karenni State, and Hatgyi in Karen State.

The Burma Rivers Network has said previously that these dam projects, which have a combined capacity of 15,000 megawatts and which are funded by Chinese, Myanmar and Thai investors, pose a threat to the future of locals and to the Salween basin’s rich biodiversity.

The current Salween dam projects, the network said, are also violating the human rights and indigenous rights of local people.