Government clarifies statement concerning actions taken for protests in Lapadaungtaung copper mine project
Published on Thursday, 29 November 2012 20:11
The information team of the union government issued an official statement dated November 29, numbered (11/2012) concerning the protests at the Lapataungtaung copper mine project site.
The statement included six key points. The point numbered (3) stated that the project has been permitted during the previous government in accordance with the international treaties and technology which is eco-friendly.
The government has been implementing the project for the sake of economic opportunities, employment, technology and environmental conservation for the country.
However, neglecting the good effects, the protesters gathered together with the aim of terminating the project, it finds.
The curfew has been imposed there at the site for the time being. And the protesters knowingly set up the protest camps there and tried to terminate the project, destroyed the supporting mechanisms for the project and disturbing the project staff against the law.
It states that Ministry of Home Affairs already warned all the protestors and groups in the project area to disperse latest by 12pm on November 27, but the protestors did not leave the area and the police force handled the riot according to the procedures on November 28. Moreover, it carries on, “In handling the riot, the police used internationally accepted water canons, tear bombs and tear gas only. It did not overuse the number of police.
The patients hurt on dispersing the crowd were being given necessary medicines in public hospitals under the arrangement of respective region government.”
In announcement (6), it says, “This is for the sake of rule of law in order to protect national and public interests in accordance with laws, abiding democracy practices.” However, there are still criticisms towards whether the way the government handled the situation is in line with law or not.
“Regarding the Latpadaungtaung project, the government can be seen talking with the purpose to protect their interests. In order to expose the case, the Parliament should rush to form the investigation commission. Also, it should protect the interests of the people hurt,” said a law expert Dr. Nyo Nyo Thin, an MP of Bahan Constituency No. (2), Yangon Region.
“The statement that declared for Lapadaungtaung case in accord with the law is wrong. As an attorney, I can tell what is wrong. First, there is no protection for environmental and societies damages. That breaks the international law. Second, the mining project which UMEHL and Myanmar Wanbao are cooperating is permitted by ministry of mining. When they permitted, they have to survey not to damage the environment and daily life of nearby villages. The project was permitted without those facts. Third, they force the farmers out of their land without the substitution for their living. The last, I want to tell that they implemented the project from the first without justice and the crackdown is not totally accorded with law.” Pho Phyu, an attorney from Purple Equity Law Firm said his view on the crackdown.
“I saw the statement to lift the protestor’s camps in the newspapers. But the crackdown on the protestors is whether it is accorded with law or not needed to consider. Whatever they announce, they should to cooperate with people. They shouldn’t hurt the feeling of the people. It can be the next problems.” Dwe Bu, a court lawyer and MP said.
Advocate Thein Nyunt, who is also a Member of Parliament, said that curfew 144 was imposed in this area. Imposing curfew 144 has to be announced in TV and newspapers. The order can be made considering the protest that disrupted the rule of law. The protesters can be arrested. The least force can be used, said in the law. The police officer can make decision whether gun or tear gas should be used or not. If the protesters don't stop the demonstration, the shooting order can be given. That is not a good sign for the public.
Despite cracking down the protesters lawfully, the government should handle the problem as gently as it can. If not so, severe action should be taken against. Now is reaching the riot level? Do the riot police follow the instructions of cracking down the protesters? The matter about "Rule of Law" is widely being told in the country now. This problem is wanted to be official. This problem should be investigated in accordance with the law after calling an emergency meeting because we have parliaments, executive Soe Tint Yi of Lawyers' Network said.
The following text is the statement issued by the government.
1. The Republic of the Union of Myanmar led by the President is trying to design a new modern democratic nation in accordance with the Constitution in collaboration with the people. In doing so, law, bylaws, rules and regulations are being enacted in various sectors for enabling democratic practices to flourish.
2. The law of the right to peaceful gathering and proceedings was enacted with No. 15 of Union Assembly Law in line with the provisions contained in sub-para (b) of Section 354 of the Constitution. The citizens, as to their wishes, should stage a protest for freedom of speech in accordance with the law.
3. Lapadaungtaung copper mine project has started in the previous government for the economic development for the State. Natural resources are being explored through the least environmental impacts. The project is aimed at further strengthening mutual friendship, creating job employment for local people, acquiring technological assistance and improving economy of the State. Turning a blind eye to these fine objectives, the protesters moved ahead to disrupt the project. With the purpose of disrupting the project, the protesters opened the demonstration camps despite imposing curfew 144 in this project area. The protesters gathered and destroyed project support materials and disturbed the staff and their acts became unlawful.
4. The Ministry of Home Affairs on November 27 issued the announcement that all the protesters must withdraw the demonstrations with the deadline of up to 12 pm on that day. If the protesters do not follow the warning, the ministry will do this issue in accordance with the Constitution. The security forces warned the protesters for several times to move back until the deadline was over.
5. However, the protesters did not give up their demonstration and therefore, Myanmar police force cracked down the protesters phase by phase. In cracking down the protesters, the riot police dispersed the protesters with the partial use of hosepipe, tear gas and smoke bombs. The injured were rushed to the hospital for medical treatment with the management of the regional responsible persons.
6. Such action is taken in accord with democratic practices to restore rule of law and the interest of the country and the people.
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