The Regime and The Companies in Collaboration in Land Confiscations

January 18, 2011

The current military regime, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), will withdraw from power. While it transfers its political power to a new regime, it is expected this military regime will hold ‘economic power’ behind the scene through its cronies.  The recent award to the companies of the regime’s cronies as the main contractors in the new Tavoy deep seaport construction in Tenasserim Division, and the placement of Zaykabar Company at the head of constructing a cement plant on lands in Kyaikmayaw Township, Mon State, are the evidence how the regime connected cronies continue to get involved in making profits from the country’s natural resources.

Land and properties confiscation in all the ethnic areas by the Burmese Army has continued since 2000, when, in the southern part of Mon State, the Burmese Army deployed more troops to set up a ‘self-reliance’ program with its armed forces.  The farmers and local villagers in Ye and Yebyu Township do not forget their suffering after the Burmese Army took their lands without compensation.

The farmers were always connected to these lands since their ancestors’ time. Whether the State recognizes these lands as belonging to the farmers or not, it does not matter. The lands belong to the farmers.  More than 10,000 acres of lands in Mon State have been confiscated since 2000 and the land confiscation problem is addressed by the military regime.

After the November 7 elections, instead of the Burmese Army, the private companies close to the regime get involved in taking land from farmers. Evidence indicates that the Burmese Army Southeast Command has backed the Zaykabar Company’s involvement in land confiscation in Kyaikmayaw Township. When this happened the local farmers suddenly lost their land, employment, and income.

On the eve of forming a Mon State government, within 90 days after elections, the local Mon farmers are still worrying whether the new government will protect them or will abuse them.  The question they ask is whether the new government will intend to resolve these past human rights problems, or will they just keep silent.

There is no law or legislation in the 2008 Constitution on the rights of land ownership.  Additionally there is no legislative power in the State or Division government to make laws on land ownership.  In this way, if the new government has no intention to solve the illegal land confiscation problem, the people will not be satisfied with their ruling, and the elections will have been meaningless for voters.

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