Mon 25 Aug 2014
Filed under: Ethnic Issues,Human Rights,Inside Burma,News
More than a hundred farmers from nine villages in Hpa-an Township, Karen State, staged a rally on Monday demanding the return of lands they say were seized by the military many years ago.
The farmers were joined by members of the 88 Generation Karen Students Group, in a two-hour march starting at 9am which began in downtown Hpa-an.
Karen parliamentarian Nan Say Awa, who observed the demonstration, said the rally was peaceful and included farmers from the villages of Taungthugon, Hlarkamyin and Hlarkadaung.
Reporter Mahn Htet Khine said that demonstrators dispersed at 11am when township authorities arrived and began questioning the participants.
MP Nan Say Awa said he called the farmers before the rally and explained that it will take time to get their lands back. He said he also requested that the farmers not hold the protest.
Since the Thein Sein government took office in 2011, thousands of farmers and villagers have staged similar rallies calling for the return of lands which were confiscated by the Burmese army, mostly in the 1990s.
Last week, Burma’s Ministry of Defence announced that, to date, more than 200,000 acres of seized land had been handed over to state and regional governments. In a report submitted to the government on Wednesday, the ministry said more than 50,000 acres were seized in Sagaing Division, 38,000 acres in Kachin State, and many more around the country. According to the report, only about 46,000 acres have so far been transferred back to their original owners