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HRW reports that Myanmar’s government and military officials have seized vast swaths of land from farmers.
HRW reports that Myanmar’s government and military officials have seized vast swaths of land from farmers.

HRW Urges Myanmar to Address Unlawful Land Confiscations

HRW Urges Myanmar to Address Unlawful Land Confiscations

Human Rights Watch has urged Myanmar’s government to promptly address illegal land confiscations, compensate aggrieved parties and reform laws to protect people against future abuses.
Over the past 30 years, the Myanmar government and military officials have seized vast swaths of land from farmers “while providing them no or inadequate compensation,” the rights group said in a 33-page report released on Tuesday, Al Jazeera reported.
“Widespread land confiscations across Myanmar have harmed rural communities in profound ways for decades,” said Phil Robertson, HRW’s deputy Asia director.
Land confiscation in Myanmar became a major issue under the previous military government, with estimates of as many 800,000 hectares or more of land seized from farmers and other civilians without compensation. Farmers who protested the lack of compensation or refused to leave confiscated land often faced criminal prosecution.
Dozens of farmers in southern Shan State, as well as the Ayeyarwady and Yangon regions described their loss of livelihoods, access to healthcare and children’s education in HRW’s report.

  Ineffective Reforms
The rights organization criticized the land reforms carried out by Aung San Suu Kyi’s government in recent years as ineffective, saying thousands of farmers’ claims remained unresolved.
“Hundreds of farmers across Myanmar, fed up waiting for the return of their lands or receiving compensation, have been prosecuted for organizing and participating in public protests against the government or for trespassing by farming the land they claim,” the report said.
HRW called on Myanmar’s government “to stop arbitrarily arresting land rights activists” and immediately release all those who were awaiting trial for peacefully protesting land seizures.
It also urged donor countries not to be “fooled by the flurry of proclaimed land reforms.”
Myanmar government spokesman Zaq Htay could not be reached for comment.

 

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