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Library BURMA: Farmers rise up at land grab by army-owned company

BURMA: Farmers rise up at land grab by army-owned company

BURMA: Farmers rise up at land grab by army-owned company

Resource information

Date of publication
September 2012
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The Asian Human Rights Commission has followed closely reports in recent weeks of an uprising by farmers against a takeover of a large area of agricultural land in upper Burma by an army-owned company and a private partner. The land grab, in the Letpadan Mountain Range of Sarlingyi Township, Sagaing Region, is of some 7800 acres of fertile land, to make way for copper mining. Currently farmers of around 26 villages cultivate the land. The residents of four villages--Siti, Wehmay, Zidaw and Kandaw--have already been forced out of their homes. The grabber is the usual suspect--Myanma Economic Holdings Ltd., a conglomerate of army interests, staffed by retired army officers, along with a joint partner company, Myanmar Wan Bao. In this case the director of the project is one Lt. Col. (Ret.) U Aung Myint.

Farmers in the area began protests and interventions against the confiscation on 2 June 2012, and tensions and conflicts with local authorities have been growing since. According to reports coming daily from the region, the area of confiscated land has been placed under an administrative order declaring it off limits, and local authorities have threatened to prosecute anyone gathering to protest at the land confiscation. Their threats have so far failed to deter demonstrators: since August 24, thousands have been gathering outside company offices in the township to demand that the land be returned to them, and to object to the copper mine project. They have also raised their voices against the uncompensated destruction of crops through the movement of vehicles, dumping of rubbish and other actions by the companies that have adversely affected their lives and livelihoods...

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