by Jung Min Shin ’21
This is a photo of me (third person from the left) with other EarthRights International staff at a community consultation. We met with community leaders from groups that were negatively affected by the Thilawa Special Economic Zone (SEZ) to discuss possible strategies to implement a more community-focused grievance mechanism for complaints that arise in the SEZ. The SEZ is a joint venture of the Myanmar and Japanese governments to construct a 2,500 hectare [approximately 9.65 square mile] economic zone consisting of an industrial zone, a port, and a power plant. The project affects six villages, which are home to 1,123 households and 4,313 people. Without any compensation for their land, more than a hundred households have been relocated so far to a resettlement site that lacks basic infrastructure and farming land, leaving villagers in a state of food insecurity and unemployment. This was a really eye-opening and fantastic experience and I hope to make many more trips.
Shin is a 2019 Chayes International Public Service Fellow. This summer, she is working with EarthRights International in Yangon, Myanmar, evaluating resettlement plans and grievance mechanisms for populations affected by the Thilawa Special Economic Zone.