Mekong River: Human Rights Watch calls Chinese dams in China’s Cambodia a human rights ‘catastrophe’

Human Rights Watch Released a report on the impact of China’s Belt and Road (BRI) implementation in Cambodia, saying: Huge dams invested by China to generate electricity in northeastern Cambodia have destroyed the lives and livelihoods of thousands of indigenous and minority people.

The Lower Sesan 2 Dam, completed in 2018, is located at the confluence of the Sesan and Serepok rivers, where two tributaries will meet again with the Mekong.

The 137-page report released today said the dam’s construction caused economic, social and cultural rights violations, forcing nearly 5,000 people who had settled in the area for generations. migrate

In addition, Human Rights Watch He also pointed out that Cambodian officials and officials of China Huaneng Group, the dam builder and operator did not speak and listen to the opinions and concerns of the communities that would be affected enough Before starting to build

Pianporn Deetes
Map of the Mekong River from the data collected by Pianporn Deetes, Director of Campaign Thailand. international river organization (International Rivers) last year.

John Sifton, Human Rights Watch’s director of Asia advocacy, said the Lower Sesan 2 dam had “blown up” the livelihoods of indigenous peoples and minorities in the area. Previously, they used to live together and self-sufficiency through fishing, hunting and farming.

“The Cambodian authorities must urgently reconsider the compensation and relocation of people from this project. including how to restore the way of living and making sure future projects don’t have any similar violations.”

Human Rights Watch According to interviews with more than 60 people, whether they are community members. Civil society leaders, academics, scientists and others who have researched the project also studied academic work Business history, research conducted by non-governmental organizations and other sources too

China Huaneng Group is the Chinese state-owned power company that builds and operates the dam. This is part of China’s Belt and Road project. Human Rights Watch said it had contacted Chinese and Cambodian government officials. Including China Huaneng in March 2020 and May and July 2021 for comment on the report. but still no reply

JIRAPORN KUHAKAN/BBC THAI
Agriculture along the Mekong River One of the occupations affected by tide is not seasonal.

What projects does China do on the Mekong River? what happened When the Mekong River is critically dry Satellite data shows that Chinese dams hold huge amounts of water. causing the downstream drought to become more severe Laos Dam Broken: How Many Thai Capital Goes to Build Fire-Producing Dams in Laos?

Brian Eyler, Southeast Asia Director of the Stimson Research Center. And the author of Last Days of the Mighty Mekong told the Financial Times: More than 400 large dams built on the Mekong River and its tributaries have disrupted fisheries practices on this major river because the dams blocked the seasonal migration of fish swimming. And it is bringing the whole region closer to a food crisis.

“The Mekong is home to the world’s largest freshwater fishery – accounting for 20% of the world’s freshwater fish catch – which relies on tens of millions of people in Southeast Asia for their daily protein intake. ”

Human Rights Watch Similarly stated that Fisheries and ecosystems experts say the dam affects fisheries in the entire Mekong-linked region. which is a dependency on food and income for Cambodian, Vietnamese, Thai and Lao people

AFP/GETTY IMAGES
Human Rights Watch said the dam’s construction was a violation of economic, social and cultural rights, forcing nearly 5,000 people to migrate.

Human Rights Watch said that from 2011 until the completion of the dam in 2018, local community members had tried to write a letter of complaint to the company. government officials including Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen, but officials refused to listen. and resist negotiating alternatives And there were some opposers who were intimidated and even jailed.

The Financial Times has also tried calling and e-mailing inquiries to China Huaneng, but received no response. The Financial Times reports that In a statement earlier this year, China Huaneng said: “The Lower Sesan 2 Dam project has been approved by the Cambodian government. And the company has followed the project development agreement and strictly complied with the contract that was made.”

Lower Sesan 2 Dam is one of a number of Chinese-invested projects in Southeast Asia. China has built 11 dams on the Mekong River in its own country, which China considers its own inland waterway known as the Lancang River.

The construction of a dam on the Mekong River in China has long been said to have affected the villagers on the Mekong River in Thailand in Chiang Rai province, on the Thai-Laos border, who are faced with unnatural fluctuations in the Mekong River.

Last year, Eyes on Earth, Inc. (Eyes on Earth), a US research firm A study revealed that China’s Mekong dams held large amounts of water during a severe drought in the Mekong countries last year. While the average water level in China is higher than the lower countries.

However, Reuters reported that The Chinese government has disputed the results of the study. and stated that during the rainy season of the previous year The amount of rainfall that fell in the Mekong River Basin along the line with a length of 4,350 kilometers decreased.

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BBC Thai news published on the website News Sod is a collaboration of two news organizations.

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