This report outlines the findings from community-based research on gravel extraction and road building in two villages in Win Yay Township, Dooplaya District, which is situated in the Karen National Union-controlled area of Myanmar. Based on qualitative research, it outlines the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of extraction and construction projects on the two communities, whilst casting a wider net at investment projects in Myanmar and the human rights situation there. The purpose of this research is to better understand these project-affected communities in order to plan interventions and capacity building, as well as to contribute to making visible the often invisibilised struggles of rural, ethnic and indigenous peoples in Burma.
At a time when attention is focused on the State Administration Council (SAC) and conflict, this report highlights some of the intersecting challenges facing ethnic nationalities and Indigenous Peoples in Myanmar. In Myanmar, ‘development’ projects like this one have side-lined the voices of local communities, failed to provide meaningful benefits for the affected communities, often worsening the economic sustainability of community livelihoods, and recurrently come hand-in-hand with militarisation. The construction of the road leaves the communities more vulnerable to conflict, as the SAC historically and currently uses road construction to support its military incursions in Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) areas.
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