Government forces civil service workers from their homes

Residents from Burma’s Sagine Region accuse a local member of parliament of causing the forced relocation of retired civil servants and low-income families living in Katha Township.

Residents allege the Sagine Regional Minister, Lieutenant General Tha Aye, is responsible for the order to relocate from their houses. The under-threat houses are in Section 9 of Katha Township, on the Katha-Nabar road. Residents say they will be demolished to make way for a townhouse development that will be built and put on sale by Human Settlement and Housing Development Department under Ministry of Construction.

A women resident, living in the area, who was ordered to relocate in October this year spoke to Karen News, under the conditions that her name would be withheld, said.

“We’ve been told to move from our houses since October. We’ve been living on this land legally with the correct registration and documentation. At first, we thought it was only a rumor, but now we know it is not.

I asked them what they [the authorities] would do for us if we are to be relocated and it seems they have no systematic plan. On each occasion they just say different things. The majority of people living here are the poor.”

According to residents in the area, government officials have threaten them that people who refuse to dismantle their houses and move out can be sued. Many local residents said it is hard to cope and relocation will make it worse.

It is estimate that there are hundreds of families living in Section 9, Katha Township and the majority are retired civil servants or daily wage laborers. A retired civil servant from Section 9 said residents were threatened to move by government officials.

“The way they [government officials] told us is threatening. They said that if we don’t move, they could put us in jail. I heard residents are now talking to lawyers to try to find ways not to be forced out of their homes.”

Karen News made inquiries at the Sagine Regional Municipality Office and a woman officer said.
“We are not aware of this case, but maybe the new District Administration Officer who has been newly transferred here is doing it.”

The Democratic Voice of Burma reported that 20-years-ago the lands in the area had been legally allocated to the families by the authority and now there is great concern that many families will become homeless if they are forced to relocate.

This incidence is not the first time civil service workers homes have targeted by government officials. In September this year, the authorities forced out non-civil servant families living in a railway workers housing zone in the Yangon Region, as many as 100 families were left homeless.

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