In an effort to protect lands that were confiscated or stolen for recent development projects and business development in Karen State, the Karen National Union is working on a land policy that will then be proposed to the Burma government.
A KNU source said that the organization would modify its current land policy that had been set up to protect lands belonging to Karen people living in KNU control areas.
Padoh Saw Dot Lay Mu, head of the KNU’s Agricultural Department, spoke at its land policy workshop, held on the Thai-Burma border on July 23 to 25 that the KNU would start documenting land confiscation cases.
“We will collect and gather information of lands losses, and those losses that were affected by government development projects in Karen State. We will then report back to the KNU leaders who will discuss the issue with the government.”
Padoh Saw Dot Lay Mu said that the KNU would focus on land confiscations cases affecting Karen people in the discussions with the government.
The land policy workshop was attended by the KNU leaders, including, Naw Zipporah Sein, KNU vice chairperson, Padoh Saw Kwe Htoo Win, general secretary, Padoh Saw Thaw Thi Bwe, joint secretary, the respective heads of the KNU’s Agricultural Department and the civil society organizations such as KESAN, KHRG, KORD, CIDKP, KWAG, and KWO.
International experts from the Transnational Institute (TNI) and Burma Centre Netherlands (BCN) attended the workshop.
Speaking to Karen News, Saw Paw Sein Twa, director of the Karen Environmental and Social Action Network (KESAN) said.
“We will take part with the Karen civil organizations on the land confiscation issue. We will collect the data that will be used in discussions with the government.”
The KNU Agricultural Department released the KNU’s land policy after it was modified in 2011.
The KNU policy documents Karen people who had to leave their houses and lands due to armed conflicts and those Karen people who lost their lands to the Burma Army.
The KNU documented the loss of lands belonging to villagers because of government development projects such as mining, dams and roads construction in Karen State.