Mon MP Calls for Government to Disallow Land Confiscation


Mon MP Calls for Government to Disallow Land Confiscation

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Burma should revoke its policy of letting the army take land from the people because land confiscation has resulted in many human rights abuses, proposed at Burma Union Parliament on Wednesday in Naypyidaw. He added that the army must find a more humane way to survive at their military bases.

Nai Banyar Oung Moe, a member from the All Mon Regions for Democracy Party, said, “We have found that they army has confiscated a lot of land from the people so they can do their business.
I told the parliament that the government should not allow the army to do their own business through land confiscation because it does not meet the human rights standard our country must achieve while undergoing reform towards a democratic system.”

Human rights abuses have been found in the ethnic states of Burma, according to a committee from Burma’s Lower House of Parliament, which investigated land confiscation during the month of December. Land confiscation typically occurs when the army takes land from local people by forcing them to sign away their property.

Army generals have told the Burmese government that their land confiscation was a matter of justice and done legally. However, Banyar Oung Moe contested this claim and told parliament,“The local people were afraid of the guns and power of the military, which is why they signed the papers that lead to military seizing their land.”

Parliament told Banyar Oung Moe that the government has a policy that allows the army to take land from local people in order to let the army not take a budget from the country. Furthermore, land confiscation gives the army land to grow vegetables and breed animals to sell as income for their army bases.

“I told parliament that this policy has had a negative impact because after land is confiscated, it is destroyed so that it cannot produce anymore,” said Banyar Aung Moe.

The Ye Township representative continued that the government has deployed too many battalions to his constituency and that these battalions have confiscated a lot of land from the local people since 1995, the year the New Mon State Party signed a ceasefire agreement with the army.

“When the army takes land from the people, the army forces the people to sign their livelihood away on paper, despite army generals saying that it takes this land as a way of justice with the local people,” he said.

“Local people are afraid of guns and power, which is why they continue to sign and allow their land to be taken.”

The Human Rights Foundation of Monland released a 2003 report on human rights violations in Mon State and Southern Burma titled “No Land to Farm.” This report focused on the issue of land confiscation, Burmese military deployment, and the suffering of landowners after the Mon National Liberation Army and Burmese army reached a ceasefire agreement in 1995. During the ceasefire, which lasted from 1995 and the year 2000, the Burmese army confiscated over 7,780 acres of land from over 370 farmers in Mon State and Southern Burma.

According to the report, land confiscation by the Burmese army was widespread in Mon State. The most severe cases were found in the southern part of the state in Ye Township. The Burmese military regime had deployed thousands of Burmese troops to the area since 1995, establishing more than 15 new battalions in Mon State.

After farmers lost their land to the Burmese troops, many had to flee to refugee camps along the Thai-Burmese border. Their children were pulled out of schools and many sought jobs in Thailand. In some cases, the army confiscated farms and plantations and forced the owners to work without pay or benefits.


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