To make a naval storage base, Burmese farmers have been evicted

Myanmar

INDONESIA

Sabtu, 21 Des 2013 11:53 WIB

Author

Ali Fowle DVB

To make a naval storage base, Burmese farmers have been evicted

Myanmar, Military, land grab, DVB

Daw Soe Soe Myint is one of 44 people that have been forced from their land in the Khanaung ChaungWa Village in Dalla township, 4 kilometers south of Yangon.

Since August this year, 500 acres of land they have farmed for generations has been claimed by the military.

A Naval storage base will be built on the land.
 
Farmers who resisted like Daw Soe Soe Myint were forced to move.

“When I was taking my children to school a couple of days later they came to my place and destroyed my home.  I got a camera and took photos of my place and then ten soldiers tried to catch me.”

Along with hundreds of other displaced farmers they have come to this conference in Yangon to speak out.

The pro-democracy group the ‘88 Generation’ organising the event says it will take their complaints to the parliament.

“The objective of this meeting is farmer’s to get a chance to have their voice heard,” says Myo Thant, the 88 Generation land rights activist.

“Farmers are beginning to speak out now so the government and people who have authority need to solve the problems of farmers as soon as possible. So, we are speaking out for that.“

Despite using the land for generations the farmers of Khanaung Chaung Wa don’t have certificates for the land.

And now that land has been declared a restrictive zone under Myanmar’s notorious Section 144 curfew law says village spokesperson, U Kyi Soe.

“If the farmers don’t move, they will come at night and destroy everything.  According to 144 on curfew they have the authority to shot farmers.”

Farmer Htun Ko Ko Oo is afraid.

“Now we are afraid of them and want to move, but where can we go?”

Some have moved to the nearest town to work as street sellers while have others built temporary shelter just outside the restricted zone. 

Farmer Htun Ko Ko Oo is keeping the cattle with  him for a while. But without their farms the families are struggling to feed their cattle.
 
Their paddy fields have now been destroyed by chemicals to make way for the Navy base.

For now they struggle to survival, metres away from the land they use to farm.


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