Forced Migration/Internal Displacement in Burma, with an emphasis on government-controlled areas

Originally published


A report by Andrew Bosson, commissioned by the IDMC

This report is a preliminary exploration of forced migration and internal displacement in Burma, organised in two main sections.

The first section considers the status of displaced people in terms of international standards, specifically those embodied in the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. It includes people who leave home not because of conflict or relocation orders, but as a result of a range of coercive measures which drive down incomes to the point that the household economy collapses and people have no choice but to leave home. Some analysts describe this form of population movement as "economic migration" since it has an economic dimension. The report argues that the coercive nature of the pressures which contribute to the collapse of the household economy brings population movement squarely into the field of forced migration. Information on the actual numbers or patterns of movement of such migrants is beyond the scope of this report, though expert individuals and organisations have stated that they think that these "livelihood migrants" constitute most of the migrants in Burma. This report limits itself to describing the coercive measures practiced country-wide and discussing the status of those who have been subject to such measures.

The second section is geographically organised. The report looks at those parts of Burma not covered by the Thailand Burma Border Consortium and concentrates on the conflict and post-conflict areas of Eastern Burma. It hardly touches on conflict-induced displacement since most parts of Burma covered in these pages, including the major cities, are government-controlled, and there is little overt military conflict. It looks at the coercive measures referred to above, essentially through a collection of documents from various sources. It also carries reports of direct relocation by government agents through which whole rural and urban communities have been removed from their homes. (...)

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