Land grab victims calls on NMSP to help resolve military confiscation of their lands

February 4, 2020

HURFOM: During the decades of military rule in Myanmar, rubber plantations in Thanbyuzayat Township, Mon State were confiscated and deemed to be “military-owned lands.” The New Mon State Party (NMSP) believes it is time to address this form of land grabbing.  The NMSP is calling for the military to withdraw from these lands and return the properties to the original owners.

Between 2001 to 2004, plantations nearby Wae Kalee Advanced Military Training School No. 4, and plantations near the Sakhan Gyi military battalion as well as plantations near the Artillery Regiment Command No. 315 were confiscated as deemed to be “military-owned land” because they were close to a shooting range. It is estimated that in total approximately  2,500 acres were confiscated by the military.

The original land owners have approached the NMSP to request their assistance  in opening a dialogue with the government to repatriate (return the lands).  

We believed in the NLD (National League for Democracy) in the past. We think if they can form the government, we’ll have a chance to get our plantation back. We believed like that. But in reality, it’s different. We made several attempts but there was no improvement. Now, the NMSP has signed the National Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) and has had a dialogue with the government and the military. We want the NMSP to present [our case] about the land confiscation during their discussions. If the NMSP makes an attempt, there will be something different, we think,” said a land grab victim from Thanbyuzayat.

Although Mon lawmakers had made efforts in 2010 to address this issue, they were unsuccessful and the issue did not gain any attention in the 2015 general election.

In 2010, there were many (Mon) lawmakers and they tried well enough (to have the military withdraw from their lands). But in 2015, there was no lawmaker who stands for the plantation owners. Then, even [though] the NLD government came into power, the chance to get our plantations back is getting fewer. So the plantation owners don’t want to make an attempt,” said a land victim.

The military also collected tax from the original land owners,  allowed some to work on the confiscated plantations, or sold the lands. 

Now, we have no one to rely on. If the NMSP has a good dialogue (with the government and the military), there will be a chance to get our land back. We lost our (land) rights from government to government. So even if there is a small chance, we’ll hold out our hope. If it’s impossible to get our land back during this government, we’ll keep trying in the next government term. We’ll keep trying until we get our land back,” said an activist supporting  land grab victims.

The Mon State government has recognized this to be an important issue, and on January 30, 2020, the Mon State Chief Minister Dr Aye Zan attended an opening ceremony of the new office of Mon State Committee for Scrutinizing Confiscated Farmlands and Other Lands.


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