CSO Statement on Myanmar investment treaties

25 June 2014
Declaration

There is great concern among Myanmar CSOs that signing investment treaties at this moment in time will freeze further democratic development.

On June 21 Myanmar Alliance for Transparency and Accountability (MATA), Karen Environmental and Social Action Network (KESAN), Paung Ku and TNI co-organised a workshop in Mandalay-Myanmar on investment treaties. Since the reform process in Myanmar took off there is a push for Myanmar to sign on to investment treaties. Myanmar recently signed one with Japan, is about to sign one with Hong Kong and negotiating with the European Union.


The workshop was a capacity building workshop, given investment treaties and investor-state-dispute settlement are very new to Myanmar CSOs, MPs and society at large. 66 people attended representing 34 organisations.


There is great concern among Myanmar CSOs that signing investment treaties at this moment in time will freeze further democratic development. Given the nascent stage of democratic development and the fact many laws in all thinkable areas still need to be developed. Through an investment treaty with ISDS future policy changes could be challenged by foreign investors in case their investment is impacted. We have seen a steep increase in the number of cases brought by investors against states at international tribunals lately. We have also seen growing expansive rulings by arbitrators.

The following statement was developed by the Myanmar participants to the workshop:

 

Statement on investment treaties

Mandalay June 21 2014

We learned that the European Union and the government of the republic of the Union of Myanmar will negotiate an international investment treaty (IIA).

We, civil society organisaties , have learned that within IIA or a Bilateral investment Treaty (BIT) foreign investors can bring cases against governments through investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism at international tribunals, while the state or communities can not sue the investor.  In 2012 there were a total of 518 known cases brought through ISDS. An average case costs 8 million USD in legal fees alone, while claims for compensation go up to billions USD. 

We also learned that IIA/BIT severely limits the capacity of the government to put in place policies in the public interest.

The threat of a potential case brought by an investor to a state through ISDS has a chilling effect on policy making. An actual claim makes the implementation of policy very expensive, both in terms of the award allotted and the legal fees involved. The last years have seen a steep increase in the number of cases brought by foreign investors to international arbitration tribunals globally.

Today 66 people from 43 Myanmar civil society organisationsbelonging to several CSO networks met in the Golden Country hotel in Mandalay to discuss the following concerns:

  1. There are no concrete national land policies and laws in place that secure the rights of Myanmar citizens vis a vis foreign investors
  2. There are no laws protecting ethnic minority rights under the current reform process
  3. There is a need to develop policies and adopt laws that control the behaviour of foreign investors and allow them to be sued when they violate human rights
  4. Environmental and social problems, caused by existing foreign investments have not been addressed, such as Myitsone hydropower project, Lethpadaung copper mine, Salween hydropower project, landgrabbing etc.
  5. There is currently no stable peace in Myanmar. If we sign investment treaties at this moment, we will not have taken into account the concerns and aspirations of ethnic communities.
  6. There is a need for a public, broad and participatory consultation process in order to decide whether or not Myanmar needs investment treaties.
 

Given the above concerns we are of the opinion that no investment treaties should be signed.

If countries are concerned about the weak legal system in Myanmar we invite them to assist Myanmar in the building of a strong and independent judicial system, instead of looking for recourse for their investors through BITS and ISDS.

Sr No

Name of Organization

Remark

1

Garuna Way Social Aids Association ( Kamout Su )

 

2

 ABCD

 

3

 AD 2030 Vision

 

4

 Ann Area Development Foundation

 

5

 Badei Dha Moe Civil Society Organization

 

6

 Belin Network

 

7

 Chapter-8 Civil Society Organization

 

8

 Chin Upper State Youth

 

9

 Colorful

 

10

 Community Response Group

 

11

 Dawei Development Association

 

12

 Dawei Research Association

 

13

 Equality Myanmar

 

14

 FPPS

 

15

 Green Land

 

16

 Green Movement Resource Development

 

17

 Green Network

 

18

 Green Network (GNSEG)

 

19

 Green Trust (Pyin Oo Lwin)

 

20

 Grow Back for Posterity

 

21

 Guardian Network

 

22

Sein Yaung Soe ( Mandalay )

 

23

I Green

 

24

Kachin Legal Aid Network Group

 

25

Kayar EITI

 

26

The 88 Generation of Myeik

 

27

Kayar Phu

 

28

Kayar Women Affair

 

29

KURM

 

30

KWPN

 

31

Kyauk Phyu Social Network

 

32

Land In Our Hand

 

33

Maw Chee Taung Paw Lu Nge Group

 

34

Democracy, Human Rights and Rural Development Committee

 

35

Mon Social Network

 

36

MYDO

 

37

Gender and Development Initiative – Myanmar

 

38

Pan Nature

 

39

Pa-Oh Youth Organization

 

40

Paung Ku

 

41

Pyi  Myanmar

 

42

Gawng Loe: Mu: 3 Mountains Education Network

 

43

Phyu Sin Myitta

 

44

 Integrated Development Executive Association

 

45

 Shwe Lein Maw Social Network

 

46

 Farmers and Land Association

 

47

Sein Lan Pyin Oo Lwin 

 

48

 Shwe Gas Movement

 

49

 Promotion Of Indigenous and Nature Together ( POINT)

 

50

 Thuriya Sandar

 

51

 New Generation Shan State

 

52

 Community Sustainable Livelihood and Development Committee

 

53

 Dawei Lawyer Group

 

54

 Tar Ka Paw

 

55

 Dawei Farmer Network

 

56

 EFMC

 

57

 Ka Lone Htar Village Development Committee

 

58

 Shan Literacy and cultural association

 

59

 Justice and Peace Commission

 

60

 Chin land Natural Resources Watch Group

 

61

 Myanmar Green Network

 

62

 Green Peasant Institute

 

63

 Eco-Dev

 

64

Myanmar China Pipeline Watch Committee

 

65

Won Lark Rural Development Association

 

66

Social Program Aids for Civic Education

 

67

Green Eden Ecological Mission

 

68

KESAN

 

69

Myanmar Alliance for Transparency and Accountability (MATA)

 

70

Kachin Peace Network

 

71

Kachin Women Peace Network

 

72

Upper Chindwin Network

 

73

Kachin State Urban Rural Mission (K-URM)

 

74

Kachin Biblical Baptist Church (KBBC)

 

75

NamkyioParahita Foundation

 

76

Sha-it  Social Development Foundation

 

77

Humanity Institute

 

78

Hoo Phoo Kapaw

 

79

ALARM

 

80

Badei Dha Moe

 

81

Myanmar ICT for Development Organization ( MIDO )

 

82

International Financial Institution Watch (IFI Watch)

 

83

Kit Thit Lu Nge

 

84

Green Heart Environmental Network

 

85

Upper Lawyer Network

 

86

Youth Association League

 

87

Tama Ayeik

 

88

Shining Star

 

89

Myitta

 

90

Silver Star Future

 

91

Phyu Sin Myintta Social Aids Group

 

92

Lat Hlan Mi Education Foundation

 

93

Farmer Network

 

94

Green Generation Environmental Protection Group

 

95

Political Prisoners Group

 

96

Green Generation

 

97

Yae Kyee Sann

 

98

Sar Ka Saw Social Aids Group

 

99

Youth Development Network

 

100

Light House Social Network

 

101

Yamanya Peace Foundation

 

102

Mon Civil Society Organization’s Network

 

103

Personal Civil Society Development

 

104

Jeepyah Civil Social Development Organization

 

105

Kyone Ma Ku Chaung Network

 

106

Mon Region Social Development Network

 

107

Zinn Kyaik Village

 

108

Mon Women Organization (MWO)

 

109

Township Supporting Committee

 

110

Township Peace Committee

 

111

Individual

 

112

Individual

 

113

Individual

 

114

Taw Too Village

 

115

Taung Pa Village

 

116

Individual

 

117

Ehn Din Village

 

118

Mon Youth Group

 

119

Guiding Star Media Group

 

120

Paung See Arr Marn Social Development Group

 

121

Millennium Centre

 

122

Nyein Faundation

 

123

South Tha Dahna Association

 

124

Myanmar Writer Association (MLM)

 

125

Shin Saw Pu Mon Women  empowerment Association

 

126

Mon Saytana Foundation

 

127

Mawlamyine Lawyers Association

 

128

Myanmar Positive Women Network

 

129

Na lone hla Youths Association

 

130

Mon Youth Progressive Organization (MYPO)

 

131

Ma Ga free funeral Social Service Association (Tha Yat Kone)

 

132

Village Livelihood Committee (9)Village

 

133

Basic Health Care Association (7)Village

 

134

Mon Youth Group (Mu Done)

 

135

Arr Man Thit Youth Association

 

136

Naung Kyo Mae

 

137

Alin World

 

138

La Yee Anal Got

 

139

Yamanya Parahita Foundation

 

140

Nyi Nyunt Thaw Mon Youth Association

 

141

Summer School Mon Teacher Group

 

142

Mon Women Group (Chaung Son)

 

143

free funeral Social Service Association (Than Phyu Zayat)

 

144

Upper Chindwin Youth Network(Kalay)

 

145

S & K Mining Watch Group , Kan Kone

 

146

Sein Yaung So (Kathar)

 

147

Thuriya Sandar

 

148

G.B.P

 

149

Ayar West Development Organization (AWDO)

 

150

Myaing Youth Development Organization (MYDO)

 

151

Nyi Nyut Chin Twae Lat Myar

 

152

Ayar West Development Organization (AWDO)

 

153

Green Network

 

154

Organic Agriculture and Farmer Affair Development Group (OAFADG)

 

155

Sein Yaung So (Activity)

 

156

Sein Lan (Pyin Oo Lwin)

 

157

Sein Yaung So (Mandalay)

 

158

Sein Yaung So (Kyauk Se)

 

159

Tama Ayeik (Mandalay)

 

160

Sein Yaung So (Nay Pyi Taw)

 

161

Myanmar Buddha Youth Development Justine

 

162

Popa Lovers Association

 

163

Sein Yaung So (Nga Zun)

 

164

Green For All (Myin Chan)

 

165

Mya Sein Yaung

 

166

Phyu Sin Myintta Social Aids Group

 

167

88 Generation (Peace and Open Society)

 

168

Saytana Shin

 

169

Irrawaddy Farmer Union Network & Myanmar Farmer Union Network

 

170

Pyoe Khinn Thit Foundation

 

171

Myat Darna Free Health Care Services Association

 

172

Ahh Linn Tan

 

173

Yaung Ni Oo

 

174

KMSS

 

175

Farmer Union

 

176

Farmer and Agriculture workers Organization

 

177

Na Lone Thar

 

178

Farmer Association

 

179

Pan Taing Shin

 

180

Zi Wi Ta Dana

 

181

Marga Social Association

 

182

Noble School Free Education Centre

 

183

Social Development Organization

 

184

RC.Youth

 

185

Youth Group ( AYF )

 

186

Garuna Way Social Aids Association

 

187

Hinthada Anti-Plastic Organization

 

188

Nalone Hla Free Funeral Services Association

 

189

University of Technology Students Union ( BAKATHA )

 

190

National Network for Education Reform (NNER)

 

191

Garuna Way Social Aids Association ( Kamout Su )

 

192

Myan Aung Township Development Committee/Yadana Education Group

Starfish Collectors ( Myan Aung )

 

193

Myat Budda, Myat Dama Library and Free Funeral Services Association

 

194

Individual

 

195

Hnalone Hla

 

196

Myint Myat Satana

 

197

Damayadana Social Aids

 

198

Farmer Network

 

199

Phyu Sin Myintta Social Aids Group

 

200

88 Generation (Peace and Open Society)

 

201

Saytana Shin

 

202

Irrawaddy Farmer Union Network & Myanmar Farmer Union Network

 

203

Pyoe Khinn Thit Foundation

 

204

Myat Darna Free Health Care Services Association

 

205

Ahh Linn Tan

 

206

Yaung Ni Oo

 

207

KMSS

 

208

Farmer Union

 

209

Farmer and Agriculture workers Organization

 

210

Na Lone Thar

 

211

Farmer Association

 

212

Pan Taing Shin

 

213

Zi Wi Ta Dana

 

214

Marga Social Association

 

215

Noble School Free Education Centre

 

216

Social Development Organization

 

217

RC.Youth

 

218

Youth Group ( AYF )

 

219

Garuna Way Social Aids Association

 

220

Hinthada Anti-Plastic Organization

 

221

Nalone Hla Free Funeral Services Association

 

222

University of Technology Students Union ( BAKATHA )

 

223

National Network for Education Reform (NNER)