Myanmar’s government stands accused of putting profits before human rights at the Letpadaung copper mine, with continued detention of activists and continued refusal to investigate use of white phosphorous against peaceful protestors, said Amnesty International today.
Three years ago, on 29 November 2012, security forces used white phosphorous, a highly toxic explosive substance, in a deliberate attack on villagers and monks who were protesting the negative impacts of the Letpadaung mine, part of the Monywa copper mining project in the Sagaing region of North-West Myanmar. Between 110 and 150 people were injured, with some suffering horrific burns and lifelong disability.
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Amnesty International documented police use of white phosphorous, among other serious human rights abuses and illegal activity related to the Monywa copper mine project, in a report published in February 2015.
The Monywa project comprises the Sabetaung and Kyisintaung (S&K) and the Letpadaung copper mines. S&K has been operational since the 1980s. Letpadaung is under construction. Subsidiaries of Wanbao Mining Ltd, owned by China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO), operate both mines.