Burma Government “Illegally” Displacing Civilians in Ethnic Areas

Burma’s Government is engaged in the illegal displacement of thousands of its own citizens, a leading human rights organization has concluded.

The New York based Physicians for Human Rights collected evidence of 8,000 people being relocated against their will to make way for dam projects in Shan State.

One example cited in the report was the Upper Paunglaung dam, which now supplies electricity to the country’s capital Naypyitaw and was completed in 2013.

PHR said that the displacement had ruined people’s lives.

“Myanmar authorities have, once again, not bothered following international guidelines when evicting families, forcing them deeper into poverty,” Widney Brown, PHR’s director of programs, said in a media statement.

“People’s livelihoods and human rights cannot be threatened every time government authorities engage in an economic development project,” Brown added.

The PHR report interviewed 80 civilians affected by the forced displacement and found that at 64 per cent moved because “they felt threatened or afraid of what would happen if they refused.”

While as many as eight out of ten households dropped below the poverty line following the displacement, PHR found.

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