"We Will Fight Until We Die, We Will Not Leave" - Dams and Environmental Rights in the Mekong | Human Rights Defender

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The rivers of Southeast Asia are increasingly threatened by the construction of cascades of large dams, which will irreversibly alter the ecology of the rivers, block crucial fish migration routes and resettle hundreds of thousands of families.

Hydropower development has significant environmental costs, but also has human ones. People are forced to relocate from their homelands; many lose access to fresh water, productive land, community forests ,and fish, an essential source of protein in local diets. Resettlement programs often fail to provide adequate farmland for rural smallholders, as arable land in the region is increasingly tied up in corporate agricultural concessions. For populations who live downstream, the exploitation of the Mekong River by private developers has detrimental impacts on fish stocks, agricultural productivity, water quality and seasonal flow patterns. Diminished access to food and water security and the loss of material and cultural livelihoods are fundamental human rights concerns.

In April 2017, Human Rights Defender magazine published an article and a photo essay by our Southeast Asia staff about the effect of dams on human and environmental rights in the Mekong. Read them below, or download the PDFs.

“We will fight until we die, we will not leave”: Dams and environmental rights in the Mekong by International Rivers on Scribd

Photo essay: The human cost of hydropower by International Rivers on Scribd