NLD Powerless To Solve Land Disputes

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By Kantarawaddy Times

The NLD can’t do anything to resolve land disputes between the Burma Army and farmers, said a Kayah environmental group.

“They’ve investigated the disputes and a decision to return the land has already been made, but the Army refuses,” said Saw Eh Say, head of Kayah Earthright Action Network. “The government can’t do anything because the Army is one of the stakeholders.”

The NLD formed a land investigation committee and the committee created a management policy for land that was seized and later abandoned in Kayah State.

Khu Tu Reh, chairman of Karenni State Farmer Union (KSFU), told Kantarawaddy Times after State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi got involved the farmers thought something would be done.

“We expected a lot more after Aung San Suu Kyi delegated officials to solve this problem but nothing’s changed,” Khu Tu Reh said.

After the State Counsellor joined the 58th Kayah State Day commemoration in Loikaw, the capital, last month she met with youth for about 20 minutes to discuss the Army’s prosecution of the farmers and the Gen Aung San statue in Loikaw. Suu Kyi promised to look into the seized farmland and the lawsuits against the farmers.

Last year, the Burma Army sued 41 farmers for trespassing and farming on land idle since it was taken back in 1990. The Army recently started building fences on it. The farmers were sued under Articles 447 and 427 for trespassing and damages, including breaking the fences under Public Property Protection Act, when they started cultivating the land again.

A guilty sentence carries a conviction of three months to seven years in prison.

The Kantarawaddy Times reached out to the state government for comments but found no-one willing to talk about the land confiscation.

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