Villagers from Htee Poe Klone claim that their farmlands and community graveyard, north of Hpa-An Town were confiscated by government officials for industrial zone and for re settlement of Border Guard Force families.
A villager said the government has not yet started the project, but villagers are barred from working on their farmlands.
“They [government] won’t let us work our farm lands.”
Naw Yuzana, a women affaisr officer from the Hpa-An based Plao-Swaw Democratic Party confirmed to Karen News that the government has started bulldozing farmlands and the village graveyard for the resettlement of BGF families in the area around Htee Poe Klone village.
Speaking to Karen News, she said.
“The government allocated lands for the BGF settlement that was already owned by villagers. They also took the village graveyard. Villagers are now facing difficulties of where to bury their dead.”
Naw Yuzana confirmed that about 800 acres of farmland had also been confiscated in Kyunkalay village, Kawkareik Township by the government and several acres close to the Burma Army based there.
Naw Yuzana said that villagers who had their land confiscated were even forced to work the land for the army.
“They [Burma Army] not only confiscated their farmlands, but villagers from around the area were forced to go and plough the land and plant crops.”
Officers from the Plao-Swaw Democratic Party reported the land confiscation cases to the Myanmar Human Right Commission and to Nan Say Awa, a Member of Parliament from Hpa-An Township in the People’s Parliament (Pyithut Hluttaw), but at the time of publication there has not been any response.
A villager said that people are now starting to speak out about their problems since the local politicians are encouraging them to.
“Before, there was no mechanism to complain and farmers didn’t know what to do. But now MPs are saying that people can report their difficulties and farmers are starting to speak out.”
Naw Yuzana, the PSDP Women Affair Officer said that in addition to the land confiscation, government officials are also relocating houses and residents along the route to the planned Hpa-An industrial zone.