On the occasion of the 16th ASEAN Summit chaired by Vietnam in Hanoi (8-9 April 2010), representatives of a number of NGOs based in North America have written the following letter addressed to the Chair and the Heads of all the 10 Delegations attending the Summit.
The letter's signatories, who came originally from Southeast Asia, expressed their deep concern about the welfare of the people in ASEAN countries who are facing grave threats to their livelihood caused by the building of dams on the Mekong River; the damage to the natural environment resulting from mining and logging activities; and the unilateral territorial claim by China of most of the "South China Sea" (which should be more correctly called the "Southeast Asian Sea).
We hope you share our concern and earnestly request your support for this petition.
April 5, 2010
The Honorable Chair of the 2010 ASEAN Summit
Heads of Delegations of ASEAN Member Countries
(c/o embassies of the respective country in Hanoi and Washington, DC)
We, the undersigned, are representatives of the above-cited nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and North American citizens with roots in Southeast Asia. As we live in relative peace and economic security, we are very concerned about the welfare of the 600 million fellow ASEAN people who are facing the following imminent threats:
1. The construction of 4 dams and plans for 15 more on the Mekong (Figure 1 and Table 1) will irreversibly alter the hydrology and ecology of this river and affect the 65 million people whose livelihood depends on it. The 4 large hydroelectric dams already built and operated by China have caused adverse impacts along the 2500-km river valley in Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Yet there seems to be little determination as to the causes and how to bring about transnational environmental and economic justice. We urge you to lead and partake in efforts to engage China and riparian countries to arrive at a comprehensive impacts mitigation that is just for the affected people.
2. Extractive activities in ASEAN countries, such as strip-mining of minerals and clear-cutting of natural forests by companies that place profits above long-term national and people’s welfare, have and will further cause great damages to the environment. We urge you to champion a program requiring these companies to publicly prove that their developments improve the livelihood of people now and in the future.
3. The unilateral sovereignty claim by China of the more than 2,000,000 square kilometers of the South China Sea (Figure 2) is a grave threat to the future of ASEAN countries and their people. This vast area of the Pacific Ocean should be more aptly called Southeast Asian Sea because it is bordered by the Philippines, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam. For ages, governments and citizens of these countries sailed this sea and exploited resources there without much similar activities from China or any outside power. We urge you to champion the Southeast Asian name for the sea and seek regional and international cooperation to protect its shipping lanes and ASEAN exploitation of its marine and undersea resources.
While we are aware you are fully abreast of the above issues, we write because we genuinely care for the welfare of ASEAN countries and people vis-à-vis the rest of the world.
Thank you for your attention to our concerns and your efforts to address them.
Long P. Pham, Chairman, Viet Ecology Foundation, Portland, Oregon; firstname.lastname@example.org
Doan L. Phung, President, Center for the Encouragement of Self-Reliance, Oak Ridge, Tennessee;
Le Xuan Khoa, President Emeritus, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center, Washington, D.C.; email@example.com
• We urge the 16th ASEAN Summit to lead and partake in efforts to engage China and riparian countries to arrive at a comprehensive impacts mitigation that is just for the affected people.
• We urge the 16th ASEAN Summit to champion a program requiring the developers to publicly prove that their resource extraction projects improve the livelihood of people now and in the future.
• We urge the 16th ASEAN Summit to champion the Southeast Asian name for the sea and seek regional and international cooperation to protect its shipping lanes and ASEAN exploitation of its marine and undersea resources.
The The 16th ASEAN Summit: Support the welfare of people in ASEAN countries petition to ASEAN Countries, China, US, UN was written by Long Pham and is in the category International Affairs at GoPetition.