Htoe Myar — The National League for Democracy (NLD) issued an announcement at the end of last month indicating that it will make a list of expropriated farmland in Karenni State, the country's smallest state.
“The instruction has been issued for all states and regions. [The NLD] has already told [its members] from respective states and regions to submit the list if it has been collected in their areas. I was in Arakan State when the instruction was issued so I don’t know whether it has already arrived at our office or not,” explained U Nyi Pu from the NLD’s Farmer Affairs Central Committee.
Ko Thae Reh, a central committee member from the Karenni State Farmers’ Union (KSFU), told BNI that his union is still collecting date for the list of confiscated farmland in Karenni State.
“We are still collecting data in Hpruso, Demoso, and Loikaw townships, where the majority of the farmland issues have taken place. We have finished in Hpruso. We are still collecting the data in Demoso. We also plan to collect data in Loikaw this month,” he said.
He added that the KSFU will review the collected data and submit this data to the elected NLD candidates and request them to deal with the matter.
A list from Hpruso town has already been released to the public. Although the KSFU had planned to invite the recently elected candidates on the day of its release, they were unable to attend the ceremony.
KSFU plans to finish collecting the data in the three townships by the end of March and submit this data in April.
“We have found many farmland issues in our Karenni State. Karenni State is small, but the number of farmland issues is high. We believe it is higher than in other states,” Ko Thae Reh explained.
Several types of land confiscation have been identified in Karenni State. They are land that has been confiscated by the Burmese military, local ethnic armed groups, companies, departmental offices and cronies or privileged people.
KFSU says many of the land rights problems have been exacerbated by the recently passed Farmland Law. KSFU plans to urge the new government to review and amend the 2012 law which critics saw has made land grabbing easier.