Blame Game at Letpadaung

Irene Pietropaoli and I have written an oped in the Myanmar Times this week addressing the ongoing human rights abuses at Letpadaung copper mine.

Many are questioning whether anyone be held accountable for the killing of Daw Khin Win, who was shot during a protest against the Letpadaung copper mine.

But what are the responsibilities of the mine’s investors in relation to the dispute? The Letpadaung mine is a joint venture between Chinese company Wanbao and the military-owned Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited.

The mine operator, Myanmar Wanbao, has made a public commitment to sustainable development and human rights inthe final draft of its comprehensive Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA), which was released on 25 June 2014. According to the company’s website, the Letpadaung project “will play as a role model in environmental conservation sector of the Union of Myanmar”.

But what kind of role model for responsible investment will Letpadaung really be? The answer will provide vital clues to the direction of Myanmar’s economic development, and whether the unlocking of the country’s enormous resources improves the lives of millions of people or prompts another “resource curse” – whereby powerful political and economic actors scramble for wealth over the backs of ordinary people.

The full article is here:

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