Land disputes increase in Karen State

Disputes over land issues have increased in the Hpa-an Town region in Karen State since the establishment of economic zones and a rush to start ‘development projects’ in the area.

Myaing Thar Yar villagers have reported to government officials that the children of Khun Bayin, an early settler of the village, are claiming their lands.

Villagers said Khun Bayin’s children and the State Government housing directorate, U Kyaw Soe, brought a map to prove that they owned the land. Using the map Khun Bayin’s children built fences around land owned by other villagers living in Myaing Thar Yar.

The Myaing Thar Yar villagers upset by the land dispute reported it to Daw Nan Say Awa, a member of parliament from Pyithu Hluttaw [House of Representatives] of Karen State, to get her help resolve the dispute.

U Saw Lone Khaing, a villager from Myaing Thar Yar village spoke to Karen News.

“We’ve been living here in this village for a long time. Only now, they [Khun Bayin’s children] claim that our lands belong to their father. They are making fences around our lands. They [Khun Bayin’s children] are doing this without any acknowledgement of the village administration chief. They [Khun Bayin’s children] claim that their father owns 32 acres of land. When Daw Nan Say Awar comes, they tell her different things, they claim that they put the fences in by mistaken.”

Villagers said that Daw Nan Say Awa met with village elders who have been living in the village long enough to know the true situation. Daw Nan Say Awa also met with Khun Bayin’s children.

Daw Nan Say Awa spoke to Karen News about her findings.

“I went there as requested to by the villagers to help with the situation. Khun Bayin’s children claimed that their father owned the lands for 50 years. But they made a mistake by making the fence and using their map. Khun Bayin’s children made the fences on the land without the knowledge of the administration chief of the village.”

Daw Nan Say Awa added that both parties agreed for a further meeting to try to settle the land dispute at the office of the village administration chief on 25 April 2013.

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