By Hseng Leng/SHAN
A Shan youth organization wants the government to reject a $225M loan offered from the World Bank for its ‘Peaceful and Prosperity Community Building’ project in southern Shan State.
The Shan State Ethnic Youth Federation (SSEYF) released a January 27 statement rejecting the development project until peace and federalism are firmly established in Burma.
Sai Aung Myint Oo, who is a lawyer, said the World Bank pushed the project in Karen, Karenni and Mon states, but that local CSOs and Karen armed organizations didn’t want it and that’s why it has been shifted to Shan State.
The SSEYF’s said that the Burma government needs to address the political problems before introducing development projects in the ethnic areas. If they push it through using the 2008 Constitution it will only exacerbate the pre-existing conflicts in the country.
“From a political standpoint, implementing this kind of project while we’re still attempting to restore peace goes against the principles of federalism,” Khun Oo, from the Pa-O Youth Organization, told NMG. “If we’re more concerned about the economy and development than peace, it may lead to more conflict.”
According to the SSEYF statement, the World Bank’s project, which involves extraction of national resources, will damage the environment, cause land confiscation, cultural loss and result in human rights violations. While a few will benefit from it, the majority will suffer.
The Shan State Ethnic Youth Federation consists of youth from Shan, Lahu, Ah Hkar, Inn-Tha, Wa, Kokang, Tawng Yoe, Kayan, Kachin, Pa-O, and Danu ethnic nationalities.