Tag Archives: dam

Update From the Amazon: No Consultation, No Construction!

31 May

Posted from International Rivers

Indigenous protesters are once again occupying the construction site of the Belo Monte Dam in the Brazilian Amazon to shed light on how hydroelectric mega-dams cause serious environmental and social impacts and destroy the way of life of the region’s peoples and traditional communities. For example, the construction of Belo Monte will cause 100 km (60 miles) of the Xingu to dry out on the river’s Big Bend if completed. In the case of the hydroelectric dams planned for the Tapajós River, the ancient riverside villages of the Mundurukú people would be completely flooded.

Indigenous protesters occupied the Belo Monte Dam construction site in early and late May 2013 to protest the government’s lack of consultation with affected communities thorugh out the Amazon.
Photo courtesy of Ruy Sposati via mundurukudenuncia on Flickr

This is the second occupation of Belo Monte’s construction site in less than a month. On May 2nd the indigenous protestors occupied the same work camp and stayed there for eight days. They left the last occupation peacefully because the federal government ensured that there would be a negotiation, which did not happen. In this case the protestors guarantee that they will maintain their occupation until representatives of the federal government talk with them and meet their demands.

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Indigenous Peoples Stop Dam Construction With New Occupation at Belo Monte Site

2 May

Cross Posted from Amazon Watch:


Altamira, Brazil – Some 200 indigenous people affected by the construction of large hydroelectric dams in the Amazon launched an occupation today on one of the main construction sites of the Belo Monte dam complex on the Xingu River in the Brazilian Amazon. The group demands that the Brazilian government adopt effective legislation on prior consultations with indigenous peoples regarding projects that affect their lands and livelihoods. As this has not happened, they are demanding the immediate suspension of construction, technical studies and police operations related to dams along the Xingu, Tapajos and Teles Pires rivers. Shock troops of the military police were awaiting indigenous protestors when they arrived at the Belo Monte dam site, but they were unable to impede the occupation.

The indigenous protestors include members of the Juruna, Kayapó, Xipaya, Kuruaya, Asurini, Parakanã, Arara tribes from the Xingu River, as well as warriors of the Munduruku, a large tribe from the neighboring Tapajós river basin. The indigenous peoples are joined by fishermen and local riverine communities from the Xingu region. Initial reports indicate that approximately 6,000 workers at one of the main Belo Monte construction sites, Pimental, have ceased operations as a result of the protest. The occupation, according to the indigenous communities, will continue indefinitely or until the federal government meets their demands.

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Xayaburi Dam protesters in Phuket maintain threat of closing Thai-Laos Friendship Bridge

3 May

The protesters told the ‘Mekong 2 Rio’ delegates in Phuket that their threat stands of closing the Thai-Laos Friendship Bridge if their demands are not met. Photo: Kritsada Meuanhawong

Residents of eight Thai provinces along the Mekong River traveled to Phuket to protest construction of the Xayaburi Dam in Laos during a three-day meeting of the Mekong River Commission (MRC) that ends today in Phuket.

The protesters gathered on Tuesday morning at the Movenpick Resort, which is hosting the “Mekong 2 Rio” conference of high-level delegates from Mekong Basin states and their upstream partners.

Members of the Network of Thai People in 8 Mekong Provinces were there to greet them with a peaceful protest, but threatened to close the Thai-Laos Friendship Bridge to traffic if their demands to halt construction of the Xayaburi Dam upstream in Laos go unheeded.

Among the uninvited guests were members of the Network of Thai People in 8 Mekong Provinces led by Niwat Roykaew.

The network comprises people from the Thai provinces of Chiang Rai, Loei, Nongkhai, Bueng Khan, Nakhon Phanom, Amnat Charoen, Mukdahan, and Ubon Ratchathani.

The network came to the conference in order to ask the MRC to reconsider construction of the Xaiyaburi Dam and a number of other dam projects along the Mekong.

“The Xaiyaburi Dam in Laos will cause a huge damage to ecosystems, as well as the lifestyles of people who live along the river in all four countries. We are here today to give this letter of complaint to the MRC Council members of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam,” said Mr Niwat.

The complaint made two specific charges: that construction of the Xayaburi Dam violated a 1995 agreement among all four member countries that “any action that will cause any impact or damage to the Mekong river will have to be agreed by all members of the four countries first.”

The second grievance was that the Laos government violated an MRC resolution made in December last year when it awarded Thai construction firm CH Karnchang Public Company Ltd a 51-billion-baht contract to build the 32-meter-high dam, with electricity generation capacity of more than 1,200 megawatts.

The Laos government failed to complete a study informing other member states of project impacts before awarding the contract, Mr Niwat said.

The network called for CH Karnchang PCL to cease work on the project and asked four Thai banks to stop servicing loans to the company.

The mega-project is jointly funded by Siam Commercial Bank, Bangkok Bank, Krungthai Bank, and Kasikorn Bank.

The protesters also called on the state-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) to cancel a “secret contract” made with the Laos government to buy the electricity from the project after it goes into operation.

Niwat Roykaew said that if no action is taken, he will lead the network to protest “until the issue is resolved”.

“The Xaiyaburi Dam construction has already begun. If the MRC still ignores the issue, we have no choice but to gather up at the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge in Nongkhai province. We will go there and close down the bridge until someone comes up with a solution,” said Mr Niwat.

To read full article go to source as cross-posted from here

Ngäbes protest hydroelectric dam

24 Mar

Ngäbes block the highway in protest of potential hydro projects

“It was not nice work, but given the pattern of the country’s development, it had to be done.” – John Steinbeck, East of Eden

After an early February victory against proposed mining projects, the indigenous Ngäbes (pronounced naw-bey) continue to struggle to prevent construction of hydroelectric dams that could negatively impact their environment. Negotiations continue, now with UN involvement, but it seems unlikely the Ngäbes will be able to stop hydroelectric construction much longer.

The struggle of one indigenous group in one small Central American country may seem irrelevant in the face of more publicized world issues, like Jeremy Lin, but their fight represents a consistent human choice to sacrifice the environment in favor of economic development.

Hydro in Panama

Panama’s government has its sights on 31 hydro projects by 2013, including seven near the borders of indigenous territory. The government claims that the projects will reduce national energy costs and increase national income through export. However, these have proved inadequate motivators for the indigenous of whom only 1% have electricity and who already do not trust the government to compensate them for absorbing the potential environmental impacts. 

While it is difficult to say exactly what negative impacts will result, previous hydro projects on indigenous land in Panama resulted in displacement due to flooding, increased mosquito breeding grounds (in a country with a dengue problem) and submersion of trees, vegetation and farmland.

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Malaysian Indigenous Communities Demand Referendum on Mega-Dams

20 Feb

cross posted from Environment News Service.

In a picture taken on August 20, 2009, Penan tribespeople man a blockade with banners and spears to challenge vehicles of timber and plantation companies in Long Nen in Malaysia's Sarawak State. Hundreds of Penan tribespeople armed with spears and blowpipes have set up new blockades deep in the Borneo jungles, escalating their campaign against logging, dams, and palm oil plantations. AFP PHOTO/Saeed KHAN

MIRI, Sarawak, Malaysia, February 19, 2012 (ENS) –

Malaysian communities are asking the government to stop all 12 planned mega-dam projects in the state of Sarawak on the island of Borneo and to hold a referendum on dam construction.

A conference of some 150 representatives of indigenous communities and civil society groups concluded Saturday in the city of Miri with demands that the state government address the adverse impact of existing hydroelectric dam projects in Sarawak and stop planning for more to power industrial development of the rainforest.

Organized by the newly formed Save Rivers Network, the conference brought local civil society organizations together with indigenous peoples organizations and concerned individuals for three days. Discussions centered on the adverse impacts of dam construction on the environment and on the livelihoods of dam-affected communities. Continue reading

Aung San Suu Kyi backs Burma dam protesters

11 Aug

Aung San Suu Kyi has urged the Myanmar and Chinese governments to re-examine the project on the Irrawaddy River

Burma pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has joined forces with environmentalists and minority groups with an appeal for a rethink of a large dam project.

Suu Kyi urged the Myanmar and Chinese governments to re-examine the project on the Irrawaddy River in the interest of national and international harmony.

The Nobel peace prize winner called the waterway “the most significant geographical feature of our country.”

Environmental groups, members of the Kachin ethnic minority and other people living along the river say the Myanmar-China Myitsone Hydroelectric Project in northern Kachin state will displace villagers and upset the ecology of the important food source.

The 3.6 billion dollar (£3.1 billion) dam being built by China in the Kachin heartland is expected to flood an area the size of Singapore.

The Burmese government has not said how much of the energy will be sold to China.

In her appeal, Suu Kyi said some 12,000 people from 63 villages have been relocated and it is not clear whether they will be fairly compensated.

The government said only 2,146 people from five villages had been relocated.

For decades, several ethnic groups have waged guerrilla wars for greater autonomy, including more control over resources in their regions. In March, fighting broke out between the 8,000-strong Kachin militia and the government.

That fighting was related to dams and other large projects being built by China.

Cross-posted from here

The Terraba fight proposed hydro-electric dam in Costa Rica

31 Mar

Rio Terraba

Following several large protests, Costa Rica’s indigenous Terraba people have filed a lawsuit seeking to halt construction of a hydro-electric power station due to flood a large swath of their territory, officials said Wednesday.

The power plant is the biggest such project in Central America. It is expected to produce up to 630 megawatts starting in 2016.

The lawsuit was filed on March 21 by the Terraba Indian Territory development association before the administrative court, a spokesperson said.

According to Gabriella Habtom, secretary of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

…Costa Rica, through its state-owned electricity company, intends to construct a hydroelectric dam (“the Diquis dam”) that will flood at least ten percent of the Térraba people’s titled lands. As well as permanently depriving the Térraba of the use and enjoyment of these lands, the Diquis dam, if built in the manner currently proposed, will also flood a large number of sites of sacred, cultural and archaeological significance to the Térraba people. These include sites of fundamental importance to their identity, cultural integrity, and spiritual and religious freedom, including many hundreds of burial sites and geographical features that are considered to be ‘pillars of Térraba existence and identity’.

The Terraba number approximately 750 people. The proposed project would bring in 9,000 non-indigenous workers and their familes, causing long term, multi-generational social and environmental impacts on the region and the Terraba people.

According to the UN, only 1.68 percent of Costa Rica’s population is indigenous.