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Kyaukpyu Special Economic Zone, Myanmar

The government of Myanmar has planned a Special Economic Zone in Kyaukpyu, in the restive region of Rakhine, whose construction will displace around 20,000 people.


Myanmar has seen a quick economic development since the military junta launched political reforms towards democracy in 2011 after almost 50 years of dictatorship. One of the strategies followed by the government to boost this growth has been the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZ) [1].

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Kyaukpyu Special Economic Zone, Myanmar
State or province:Rakhine state
Location of conflict:Kyaukpyu city
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Land acquisition conflicts
Manufacturing activities
Specific commodities:Land
Manufactured Products
Industrial services
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Area: The government reserved more than 1,700 hectares for the project. It is unclear what will be the area when the project is completed. [10]

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Project area:1,708
Level of Investment:2,300,000,000
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:20,000
Start of the conflict:01/09/2013
Company names or state enterprises:CITIC Group from China
China Harbour Engineering Co Ltd (CHEC) from China
China Merchants Port Holdings Company Limited (CMHI) from China
TEDA Investment Holding Co., Ltd. (TEDA) from China
Yunnan Construction Engineering Group Co., Ltd. (Yunnan Jiangong) from China
Charoen Pokphand (CP) Group (CP) from Thailand
Relevant government actors:Government of Myanmar, Myanmar's Ministry of Commerce
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:International Commission of Jurists (, Kyaukphyu Regional Development Association
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Local ejos
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Public campaigns
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Occupational disease and accidents
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Other socio-economic impacts
Potential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Land dispossession
Other socio-economic impactsIncreasing debt
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:The port was downsized
Development of alternatives:The ICJ has recommended a moratorium on all the Special Economic Zones and to suspend the land acquisition process in Kyaukpyu.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The project is still ongoing
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

2014 Myanmar Special Economic Zone Law
[click to view]

2015 Environmental Impact Assessment Procedure
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[2] Winner postponed for Kyaukphyu, The Myanmar Times, January 19, 2015
[click to view]

[6] The economic stakes for China in Myanmar’s restive Rakhine, South China Morning Post, September 22, 2017
[click to view]

[5] Rohingya Refugee Crisis, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
[click to view]

[7] Exclusive: China seeks up to 85 percent stake in strategic port in Myanmar, Reuters, May 5, 2017
[click to view]

[8] Analysis: ‘Debt Trap’ Alert Rises in Myanmar as More Belt and Road Projects Scrapped, The Irrawaddy, September 18, 2018
[click to view]

[3] Kyaukphyu port: What happens next?, Myanmar Times, November 9, 2018
[click to view]

[4] Why is there communal violence in Myanmar? BBC, July 3, 2014
[click to view]

[1] General Information on Myanmar Special Economic Zones , Thai Embassy in Yangon
[click to view]

[10] Govt reserves land for Rakhine state SEZ, Myanmar Times, Dec 7 2015
[click to view]

[11] New Chair of Kyaukphyu SEZ Wary of Chinese Loans, The Irrawaddy, July 17 2018
[click to view]

[9] Myanmar: amend Special Economic Zones Law to protect human rights – new ICJ report, February 2017
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Laura Villadiego, Carro de Combate, [email protected]
Last update24/01/2019
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