Cut into the Ground: The Destruction of Mangroves and its Impacts on Local Coastal Communities Print E-mail
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Tuesday, 01 September 2009 00:00

“It’s very difficult for rural and coastal peoples to survive, because the SPDC and business interests take over all of our resources.”

- Nay Lin Aung, farmer and fi sherman from Ranaungbyin Village, Rathedaung Township, Arakan State

1. Arakan State and Its Mangrove Forests

Arakan State lies in northwestern Burma and borders Bangladesh and the Bay of Bengal. It is thought that Rakhines, the largest ethnic group in Arakan State, settled there in the ninth century. Tales claim that Rakhines descended from their legendary king Marayu, who founded the first city Dhanyawadi, married the daughter of a Mro chief, and cleared the country of demon-like creatures called Bilus.1 Arakan State used to be an independent sovereign nation before it was annexed by Burmans in 1784, and its cultural heritage is one of the most fascinating in Burma today. Arakanese culture is similar to mainstream Burmese culture, but because of Arakan State’s proximity with Bangladesh and the rest of South Asia, it has more of an Indian influence.

Arakan State is one of Burma’s three major mangrove areas. According to Burma’s Forestry Department statistics, in 2000, Arakan State had 22,919 hectares (56,634 acres) of mangroves.2 Arakan officially has 13 species of mangroves, while unpublished research has documented 30 species in the State.3 Surveys completed in the 1980s found that the dominant species was Heritiera fomes, followed by Cynometra ramifl ora. Additional mangrove varieties include Xylocarpus granatum, Kandelia candel, Excoecaria agallocha, Bruguiera gymnorhiza and Rhizophora species. Endemic tree species in Arakan include Bruguiera cylindrical, Bruguiera parvifl ora, Heritiera littoralis, Xylocarpus granatum, and Xylocarpus moluccensis.4

Mangroves, a keystone species in Arakan State, are rich in biodiversity, support local livelihoods, and provide many invaluable ecological services. They provide lumber, roofing, and other construction materials for houses, animal pens, and seasonal temporary shelters for farmers and livestock. The Taw Chong fruit—one of many kinds of traditional medicine found in mangroves—can cure some forms of paralysis in people and also treat hoof and mouth disease in cattle. Rope fibers for farmers and red clothing dyes can be found here. In addition, mangroves are rich in biodiversity, providing food and habitat to monkeys, herons, cranes, crocodiles, otters, wild dogs, and snakes.5

The population of Arakan State is approximately seven million. 89% are ethnic Rakhine, 7% are Khami, Chin, Mara, and other ethnic groups, and 4 % are Bengali Muslims. In this article, “Arakanese” refers to all the people of Arakan State. Agriculture and fishing are the cornerstones of identity and survival for more than 70 % of Arakanese.6 90% of Arakanese live along or nearby mangrove forests and swamps that line Arakan’s sheltered muddy coast and estuaries.7 Along the coastline, the lives of local villagers are intertwined with and dependent on mangroves and neighboring vegetation and natural resources.


2. Destruction of Mangrove Forests

For the past 20 years, a combination of unsustainable prawn and shrimp farming,8 logging for firewood, charcoal production, extraction of non-timber forest products, and, to a lesser extent, ecotourism development, have destroyed more than 84% of the mangrove forests in Burma.9 There is no official protection for the mangrove in Arakan State.10 While no precise numbers exist for Arakan State, the Network for Environmental and Economic Development believes that more than half of its mangroves have been lost, mostly to state controlled shrimp farming and brick making. Other contributing factors to mangrove loss in Arakan include road construction, extension of settlements, and the operation of salt fields.11 Arakan’s northern and western mangroves are severely depleted, and southern island mangroves are protected only by their inaccessibility. Development projects have not only destroyed traditional land management practices and the local environment but also continue to devastate the livelihoods of coastal and riparian Arakanese, people who have traditionally depended on mangroves for food, shelter, and forest products.

Under the Burmese military regime (State Peace and Development Council, or SPDC), local communities in Arakan State continue to suffer from failed state development policies and development-related human rights abuses such as the pervasive use of forced labor. Many restrictions of basic freedoms are imposed in Arakan more severely than most other areas in Burma.12 Institutionalized discrimination and marginalization of ethnic nationalities within the Arakanese population have consistently excluded local communities from participating in decision-making about the management and use of their natural resources. These linked hardships make it increasingly difficult for Arakanese people to maintain an adequate standard of living, and, as a result, tens of thousands have fled to other countries as refugees and migrant workers. Needless to say, communities living under this climate face great challenges in preserving their traditional livelihoods, traditions, and environment.

Traditional Natural Resource Management

Indigenous and ethnic coastal populations in Arakan State have relied on mangroves and local forests for food, construction materials, firewood, charcoal, and medicines for hundreds of years. Mangroves provide nursery grounds, shelter, and food for half of the fish species that Burmese nationwide depend on for commercial and subsistence fishing.13 Many resident fish, prawn, shrimp, crabs, lobsters, crayfish and other aquatic wildlife life can also be found in and around Arakan’s mangroves. The survival of seagrass beds and coral reefs, both of which provide communities with much needed sustenance, depend on the ability of the mangroves to filter sediments. One square kilometer of healthy coral reefs can produce enough food to feed 1,000 people.14 Besides fish and other aquatic foods, communities collect non-timber forest products like wild fruits and vegetables from mangroves as well.

Many communities in Arakan State believe in animism and spirits. Their beliefs manifest themselves in protected mangrove forests (nat taw), which were usually established in front of and behind villages. In these areas, felling of trees was prohibited traditionally. Such practices were prevalent until the SPDC’s development agenda was implemented almost 20 years ago.

In the rainy season which runs from June to October, tide water levels in mangroves are higher, and many female fish come to these wetland areas to lay their eggs and to feed on mangrove fruits and flowers. Rice fields traditionally border mangroves, and after the rainy season, saltwater begins to move inland. To prevent saltwater and brackish water from entering paddy areas, villagers customarily work together to build up earthen water breaks each year. On top of the breaks, mangrove trees are planted to serve as water markers to gauge whether or not tidal and flood waters breach the breaks.

Fishing, trapping, and small-scale aquaculture are the backbone of coastal Arakanese livelihoods. Typically, homes are located very close to streams, making daily fishing convenient. Traditional coastal fishing methods are based on the tides and include use of nets by men, and bamboo prawn scoops and fish and crab traps by women. Locals trap both night and day according to the tides. Small-scale shrimp farming also is common, and like levee building, shrimp pond construction depends on communal labor of villagers. Traditional one-acre family-owned shrimp ponds can produce 20 viss (about 32 kilograms)15 of shrimp on average, enough to feed one household and produce marketable surplus. Large-scale shrimp farms can grow up to 30 viss of shrimp per acre, but each acre requires about a 100,000 kyat investment. In comparison, a one acre traditional shrimp pond needs only 20,000 kyat of start-up capital.

Mangroves Save Lives

Mangroves stabilize the soil and prevent erosion, siltation, and sediment loss by acting as catchment areas for materials washed from inland and upstream waters. In addition, mangroves absorb excess nutrients like nitrates and phosphates, which helps prevent contamination and algal blooming in coastal waters. Furthermore, mangroves moderate the effects of global warning by soaking up and storing carbon in their trunks and sediments.16

Like their Bangladeshi neighbors, the people of Arakan State are familiar with yearly cyclones, usually in April and May, which often claim human lives.17 Fatal floods occur repeatedly during the rainy season as well. Mangrove roots and trunks help protect coastal communities from strong winds, storm waves, and natural disasters like cyclone and tsunamis. They also help lessen the impacts of floods.

Mangrove ecosystems have other natural warning signs of impending disasters. For example, if mangrove crabs dig holes on very high ground, it signals that in the following year there will be floods. This crab behavior has traditionally prompted locals to build up their levees. Arakanese who know how to recognize signs like this are able to brace themselves before catastrophes hit and have better chances of preventing loss of life and damage to property.

Lessons from Cyclone Nargis

Cyclone Nargis, the worst natural disaster in Burma’s history, hit the Irrawaddy Delta on May 3, 2007. The official toll is 84,537 deaths, 53,836 missing, and 2.4 million affected, although some estimates put the numbers much higher.18 During Cyclone Nargis, villagers who lived in areas defended by mangroves survived. In Pyapon Township in Irrawaddy Division, out of 15,000 people from 26 villages, only three people died, as Burmese environmental NGO the Forest Resource Development and Conservation

Association grew than 3,000 acres of mangrove forests there over the past 10 years.19 According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, mangrove areas in the Irrawaddy Delta total less than 250,000 acres, not even half the size they were in 1975. Over 82 % of mangrove coverage in the delta has been lost, mostly due to rice farming.20 If more mangrove forests had been intact, many more lives may have been saved.


3. Impacts of State-Sponsored Development

Before 1988, there were only two military bases in Arakan State. Now, there are a total of 57 Burma Army battalions, all based near mangroves. Increased troop presence is directly responsible for the rapid deterioration of Arakan’s mangroves in the past two decades. In 1992, the SPDC’s Western Command began its involvement in shrimp farming and brick making projects primarily to generate income but also to consolidate its power over local populations. The SPDC has gained control of these sectors at the expense of local communities and the environment, mainly through land confiscation, use of forced labor, and imposition of arbitrary taxes and fees.

Commercial Shrimp Farming

NEED estimates that up to 65 % of Arakan State’s mangroves have been lost to shrimp farming. Business people are attracted to shrimp production because of the high profits of shrimp compared to fish.21 Despite their great ecological and social value, shrimp farmers favor using mangrove sites because they are easy to access, inexpensive to develop, and situated in brackish water, which is needed for basic shrimp farm operation. Locals are not in the position to protest the development of shrimp farms, and many are established illegally.22 According to the Arakan State Shrimp Product Association, there are more than 155,333 acres of shrimp farms in Arakan State, which account for more than 76 % of all the shrimp farms in the nation.23

To make room for these shrimp farms, mangroves are cut down, their roots are burned, and ponds are dug. After mangroves are destroyed, the habitat and breeding grounds for local wildlife is lost. The ecosystem becomes fragile and prone to erosion, which threatens nearby reefs and seagrass beds. Large-scale farmers continue production and have a tendency to expand their ponds, some reaching from a few hundred acres up to 4,000. In comparison, traditional shrimp farming plots are usually no more than one acre in size. Ironically, cutting down wide swaths of mangroves for shrimp farming causes acidic soil conditions that do not support shrimp aquaculture.24 In addition, the creation of large shrimp pond tracts combined with the absence of mangroves make it difficult for farmers to construct effective water breaks to protect their crops. Floods, tidal surges, and rising sea levels lead to regular overflowing of brackish pond water onto paddy lands.

Moreover, to grow as many shrimp as possible and sustain large, overcrowded shrimp populations, shrimp growers use high quantities of artificial feed and chemical boosters, pesticides, and antibiotics.25 In 2002, Greenpeace International found traces of chloramphenicol, an antibiotic linked to aplastic anaemia in humans, in samples of shrimp exported from Burma. The chemical has been banned in the European Union for use in animals and fish meant for human consumption.26 Shrimp pond water with elevated concentrations of these toxins and shrimp waste is usually dumped into the surrounding land and waterways, harming local communities and causing fish kills.27

Although lacking technical skills and knowledge in shrimp raising and production, military authorities in the SPDC’s Western Command have set up a lucrative enterprise by leasing out lands to shrimp farmers that they themselves have forcibly confiscated from locals. On average, one acre costs 166,667 kyat to lease, but the fee varies, depending on the whims of local battalions, townships, and fisheries department offices. In 2007, local army battalion officials raked in 880 million kyat from lease revenue from 30 business persons.28

The commoditization of local resources by the military and business elite indifferent to the environmental impacts of shrimp farming have left more and more families landless and subject to forced labor. Private lands and shrimp farms are confiscated from villagers without compensation.29 Local Arakanese are commonly forced to work on military-owned shrimp production plants.30 Forced labor occurs especially during floods, when embankments surrounding shrimp ponds need to be raised.

Brick Making

The second leading cause of mangrove deforestation is brick making sponsored by SPDC Western Command. NEED has found that every year, each battalion makes at least 300,000 bricks for its own use and for sale to the public. Each brick requires one 18 inch long and 5 inch thick log for fi ring, and the SPDC acquires the logs needed to fire bricks through widespread and uncompensated forced labor. Virtually all households living in close proximity to army bases in Arakan State must provided an annual load of 15 six foot long logs, each with a diameter of about five inches. Failure to do so results in a 4,000 kyat fine. For the actual brick making process, the SPDC uses both forced and paid labor. If locals want to purchase bricks, they must do so from local authorities, since the SPDC edged out its competitors by imposing brick making and selling licenses.

Mangrove species particularly sought after and cut down for their burning properties for brick making include Ceriops decandra and Cynometra rammifl ora.31 Because of such pervasive depletion of species like these on the coast, Khami, Mro, and Bengali Muslims living in Arakan State’s mountains are now being forced to cut down their local forests for brick making as well.

Worsening Poverty

While shrimp production and brick making bring in considerable profits for officials and their business partners, environmental degradation and pollution resulting from mangrove destruction, the operation of commercial shrimp ponds, and brick making facilities have caused a decline in local food security and income. This has led directly to increased poverty and lower standards of living for communities all throughout western Arakan State.

Thirty years ago, 80% of Arakanese households living next to mangroves had enough food to sustain their families. Today, only 10 % of communities are able to meet their basic food requirements. It is increasingly difficult for locals to harvest traditional foods like water coconut (niparpon) which grow next to mangroves. Customarily, about 40 % of local communities grew water coconut, which is used to make traditional wine, sugar, and roofing for houses. But now, shrimp farmers control the salinity of coastal waters through the use of sluice gates and levees, and the reduction in salt levels has killed niparpon en masse. Many villagers do not even have sufficient quantities of firewood for cooking. In NEED’s field research site, 70% of communities use rice husks (pu eh) for cooking because mangrove forests have become so depleted.

Mangrove resources are reduced to an all time low. More and more families are unable to continue their traditional livelihoods, and dire poverty has given many Arakanese little choice but to migrate from rural to urban areas in search of work, both domestically and internationally. Migrant destinations include southern Arakan State, urban areas in Burma, southern and western Thailand, Malaysia, India, Singapore, China, and Malaysia.

“It’s very difficult for rural and coastal peoples to survive, because the SPDC and business interests take over all of our resources,” stated Nay Lin Aung, 38. “Many parents can no longer send their kids to school, and there’s more crime now, too.” Nay is a farmer and fisherman from Ranaungbyin Village, Rathedaung Township, in Arakan State. He has been working illegally in Thailand for over a year to support his daughter’s education in Burma.

Finding good jobs in urban areas is challenging for migrants, and, as children migrate with their parents, their education and development are interrupted. Migrant children commonly drop out of school to work in tea shops or restaurants in order to earn money for their families, further entrenching themselves in the cycle of poverty. There have also been cases of some rural Arakanese children and youth being trafficked into forced prostitution, especially in southern Arakan State and urban areas such as Rangoon.


4. Extortion by Authorities

In addition to environmental degradation, people in Arakan, like people in rest of Burma, suffer deprivations of livelihood in the forms of extortion and taxation. In 1988 the military regime introduced a self-reliance program which required troops to be responsible for their own food, supplies, and funding. To achieve this goal, battalions steal and extort from local communities. Fearful of violence and retributions if they resist, villagers have no recourse but to give food, clothing, forced labor, and whatever else SPDC troops demand from them.32

To make matters worse, corrupt army officials impose arbitrary taxes on the use of natural resources that communities have used freely for centuries. Some examples include water line, fish catch, and boat and net taxes.

A former one-star Nasaka (border security)33 official who worked in Maung Daw Township in western Arakan State for over a year said he received one viss (about 1.6 kilogram)34 of fish as tax from local fisherfolk daily. He stated that he was paid only 750 kyat a day, less than the daily income of locals, and that it was virtually impossible for local officials to survive on their meager government salaries without extorting supplementary income and food from villagers. According to the ex-officer, communities are forced to porter supplies for the military and maintain army bases as well.35

Confiscation by the authorities greatly compromise the abilities of local communities to feed and clothe themselves, and illegal tax demands cause severe financial constraints for Burmese, 90% of whom make less than US $1 a day.36 This is especially true of people in Arakan State who are typically poorer than fellow Burmese in other parts of the country. According to NEED research, the average daily income for an Arakanese in 2008 was 800 to 1,000 kyat. In comparison, Burmese living in central Burma can earn 1,500 to 2,000 kyat a day.


5. Conclusions: The Way Forward

It is clear that shrimp farming and coastal development in Arakan State have devastated and irreparably affected indigenous livelihoods. Likewise, villagers have virtually no say in the development and uses of their natural resources, and thus have begun to lose control of their lands. Poor governance structures, malfeasance, and corruption have allowed business interests to thrive at the expense of local communities. The unchecked exploitation of mangroves and coastal resources seriously jeopardizes the food security, social security, and seasonal income of surrounding villages.

Burma is a country rich in natural resources, from teak, gems, and minerals, to hydropower potential, oil, and gas, but the current regime has monopolized the extraction and exportation of these resources for its own profit. For example, natural gas deposits off the Arakan coast are being developed for export to China, while local communities still collect firewood or burn biomass, practices that add to sustained mangrove deforestation.37 Previously, the military government received loans from the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, and Japan’s Official Development Assistance to promote paddy farming, which have added to mangrove clearing not just in Arakan State, but all over Burma as well. Such instances underscore how the SPDC’s development approach facilitates greater environmental destruction, fails to bring people out of poverty, and impedes community development and social progress.

To date, there has been no effort to share the benefits of such development projects with communities, but rather, systematic abuse of locals and environmental degradation accompanies development projects in Burma. With growing population pressures on natural resources, this development path is dangerous for both people and the environment. A fundamental change in these dynamics in mangrove management is the only sensible solution for coastal communities in Arakan State and for Burma as a whole.


6. Recommendations: Opportunities for the Future

Arakan’s mangrove resources are being lost not only due to vast aquaculture, brick production, and other projects at the macro level. The Network for Environmental and Economic Development (NEED) demands that such development halt. Additional factors that contribute to mangrove loss include low awareness on the importance of mangrove forest conservation among poor communities and illegal fishing and poaching at the local level. The lack of qualified staff, financial resources, and equipment and the absence of legal community-based organizations able to freely work on mangrove preservation present significant obstacles for the establishment of a formal system of mangrove protection and management in Arakan. Traditional decentralized systems of local mangrove management have been disregarded and destroyed by the state. Such needs and concerns must be addressed by the government, international NGOs, and the global community.

To combat mangrove destruction and degradation, NEED began a grassroots mangrove reforestation campaign in 2007. This saw the creation of two protected areas in Arakan State, one 20 acres in size and another plot spreading six acres. Numerous sites in Arakan State can be replanted with mangroves and protected. Such areas include nurseries, plantations, degraded sites, and communal forests. Wildlife viewing areas as well as abandoned and active rice fields and shrimp farms offer additional sites for possible mangrove propagation. NEED has also given trainings on the importance of mangroves, and in 2009, it plans to organize exposure trips to areas in Southern Thailand that were devastated by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.

There are limits to this small-scale approach, however. There is no doubt that vast improvements to local livelihoods in Arakan State can be achieved through political change, effective environmental legislation and enforcement, curbing the military-controlled shrimp industry, and the end of human rights abuses. Key to ensuring that local communities benefit from development projects is to increase villager participation and involvement in decision-making at the local, regional, and national level.


About Network for Environmental and Economic Development (NEED)

NEED was founded in March 2006. NEED is a nonprofit NGO working to strengthen Burmese civil society so that all the people of Burma may benefit from the practice of indigenous and holistic development strategies, based on economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable ideas. NEED concentrates on the promotion of environmental conservation, sustainable agriculture, and economic development in Burma.


NEED-Army property

Mangrove forest areas between Sittwe city and Ponna Kyun town. In the past these community mangrove forest areas were owned by villagers but the Army confiscated them for commercial prawn breeding. The signpost reads “Army’s property”.



Mangrove devastation between Sittwe and Ponna Kyun caused by commercial prawn breeding which blocks salt water and kills the mangrove.



A road was built to block salt-water flooding, but when actual flooding occurred, salt-water flooded the paddy fields and local villagers could no longer grow rice.



1 Narinjara website, “Introduction,” at: <>. Last accessed 16 Oct. 2008.

2 U Ohn,.“Coastal Resource Management with Special Reference to the Mangroves of Myanmar,” the Forest Resource Development and Conservation Association, p.3.

3 Mangrove specialist inside Burma, personal correspondence with Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG), July 2009. On fi le with BEWG.

4 Ibid.

5 Supra note 13, U Ohn Interview.

6 Arakan Information Website, “About Arakan,” at: <>. Last accessed 16 Oct. 2008.

7 Food and Agriculture Organization, “Mangrove Description-Myanmar,” 2006, at: < forestry/20069/en/mmr/>. Last accessed 16 Oct. 2008.

8 Technically, prawn and shrimp are separate subspecies, but in commercial farming and fi sheries, the terms “prawn” and “shrimp” are used almost interchangeably.

9 Network for Environmental and Economic Development website at: <>. Last accessed 15 Oct. 2008.

10 U Ohn Powerpoint Presentation,”Responsible Aquaculture and Environmental Protection,” Forest Resource Development and Conservation Association, 13 Jul. 2006. On file with Burma Environmental Working Group.

11 Mangrove specialist inside Burma, personal correspondence with Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG), July 2009. On fi le with BEWG.

12 Amnesty International, “Myanmar The Rohingya Minority: Fundamental Rights Denied,” 19 May 2004, at: <>. Last accessed 16 Oct. 2008.

13 Peter N. Spotts, “Burma’s opportunity now: Rebuild for a safer future,” Christian Science Monitor, 13 May 2008, at: < for-a-safer-future/>. Last accessed 16 Oct. 2008.

14 Interview of U Ohn, “The Mangrove Forests: Burma’s Best Biodefense,” The Irrawaddy, Sept. 2008 (Vol.16No. 9). Available at: <>. Last accessed 22 Oct. 2008.

15 Viss is a weight unit used In Burma.

16 Mangrove Action Project, “Learn about Mangroves,” available at: ttp:// mangroves>. Last accessed 16 Oct. 2008.

17 The Shwe Gas Movement website, “Arakan,” at: <>. Last accessed 21 Oct. 2008.

18 Marwaan Macan-Markar, “Calamities, Climate Change - Reprieve for Mangroves,” IPS, 24 Sept. 2008, at: <>. Last accessed 22 Oct. 2008.

19 Supra note 14, U Ohn Interview.

20 Marwaan Macan-Markar, “Mangrove Loss Exacerbated Cyclone Devastation,” IPS, 22 May 2008, at: <>. Last accessed 22 Oct. 2008.

21 Commercial shrimp are separated into three categories for sale. Shrimp less than 3 inches sell for 8,000 per viss. Those between three to four inches go for 15,000 kyat per viss. Shrimp longer than four inches can fetch about 20,000 kyat per viss.

22 Shrimp News International, “Did Shrimp Farms in Myanmar (Burma) Contribute to the Damage from Cyclone Nargis?” 23 May 2008, at: <>. Last accessed 21 Oct. 2008.

23 Narinjara, “Burmese Government Leases Shrimp Farms to Private Sector in Maungdaw,” 27 Jan. 2007, at: <>. Last accessed 21 Oct. 2008.

24 Shrimp News International, supra note 22.

25 See, e.g., Greenpeace International, “Shrimp Farming,”at: <>. Last accessed 21 Oct. 2008.

26 Paul Johnston & David Santillo, “Chemical Usage in Aquaculture: Implications for Residues in Market Products,” Greenpeace Research Laboratories, Dept. of Biological Sciences, University of Exeter, UK., Jun. 2002, p.3.

27 Greenpeace International website, “Shrimp Farming,” at: <>. Last accessed 21 Oct. 2008. Burma Environmental Working Group 13

28 Supra note 23.

29 Ibid.

30 Shwe Gas Movement website, “Arakan,” at: <>. Last accessed 21 Oct. 2008.

31 Mangrove specialist inside Burma, personal correspondence with Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG), July 2009. On fi le with BEWG.

32 Human Rights Documentation Unit, National Government of the Union of Burma, “Other Factors Contributing to the Deprivation of Livelihood,” in Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2006, at: < BHRY/2006/livelihood.html#other>. Last accessed 21 Oct. 2008.

33 “Nasaka” refers to Burma’s special border guard force composed of offi cials from police, immigration, customs, and military intelligence departments.

34 See supra note 15.

35 Burma Environment Working Group (BEWG) interview, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2007. On file with BEWG.

36 Aye Aye Win, “Myanmar’s Economic Decline Fuels growing Protest Movement,” AP, 26 Sept. 2008, <>. Last accessed 21 Oct. 2008.

37 EarthRights International, “Shwe Gas Project in Burma: Recent Developments – Feature,” 8 March 2006. <>. Last accessed 22 Oct. 2008.

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