Cardinal Charles Bo of Yangon, Myanmar, issues a statement April 15, 2019, expressing his “heartened” response by stakeholders to the concerns raised about the Myitsone dam project on the Irrawaddy River.
Myitsone is a large dam and hydroelectric power development project that was planned to be built in Myanmar. The proposed construction site is at the confluence of the Mali and N’mai rivers and the source of the Irrawaddy River in northern Burma.
While the dam has economic benefits, it threatens local agriculture, the use of the river, and many sacred and historic sites, according to critics. Cardinal Bo called the Irrawaddy the “sacred mother” of the Myanmar people.
Following is the cardinal’s full statement:
A few weeks ago, we made a passionate plea to all the stakeholders to stop any effort to dam our Mother River Irrawaddy.
We are heartened by the response of the army which has assured that the feelings of the people of Myanmar will be taken into consideration in the dam issue.
Yet we are deeply concerned and worried. There are signs that extreme pressure is brought on our leaders to restart the Myitsone dam. Millions stand to lose their livelihood. Environmental and Economic catastrophes are already predicted by the scientific community.
China is a superpower. It has been an all-weather friend to Myanmar. It can contribute to the welfare of the millions by stopping this dam initiative once for all. The superpower can really help our poor in many other ways.
Once again, with tears in our eyes, our hearts burdened with the impending risks to millions, we plead with all stakeholders to stop the dam once for all. Irrawaddy is a sacred mother to all of us. Kindly annul the agreement once for all.
Our military and civilian leadership, we strongly believe, always keep the welfare of the poor people of Myanmar in their plans. The resources of Myanmar belong to the people of Myanmar. Myitsone dam sadly does not benefit the people of Myanmar.