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Hpa-an Situation Update: Land confiscation by the KNU/KNLA-PC in T'Nay Hsah Township and resettled refugees facing difficulties in Lu Pleh Township, February 7th to May 18th 2019

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This Situation Update describes events that occurred in Lu Pleh and T'Nay Hsah townships, Hpa-an District between February 7 th and May 18th 2019. In T’Nay Hsah Township, the KNU/KNLA-PC is currently confiscating lands to build a new town over a 4000-acre area in O---village. It is also organising gambling activities for fundraising purposes despite the opposition of the local population in Keh K’La village tract. In Lu Pleh Township, resettled refugees are facing livelihood challenges due to a lack of support by the organisations in charge of the resettlement process.

Land confiscation by the KNU/KNLA-PC in T'Nay Hsah Township

After they seceded from the Karen National Union in 2007, the KNU/KNLA-Peace Council (KNU/KNLA-PC), led by Pu Htin Maung, established its headquarters and main military camp near O--- village, Htoh Kaw Koh village tract, T'Nay Hsah Township. Pu Htin Maung is currently confiscating lands to build a new town called Naw Ta Ya in the area, with support from the Myanmar government and an unidentified organisation from Japan. This town is projected to extend over a 4,000-acre area that includes lands and plantations belonging to local people.

On February 18th 2019, one local woman told KHRG that the KNU/KNLA-PC had been confiscating over 400 acres of lands, belonging to ten people, since 2007. There have been many incidents of land confiscation but she does not remember the exact dates. The perpetrators who confiscated these lands are Commander Pu Aung Naing from Battalion #707 and Commander Ba Blut Moo from Battalion #708. Most of the victims had Karen National Union land titles, and some of them had Myanmar government land titles.

On February 17th 2019, most of the people from several village tracts attended a meeting on this project organised by Pu Aung Naing. The villagers who attended the meeting oppose it because they would lose their grazing and plantation lands. They do not have other jobs to secure their livelihoods and they would not feel safe and free to travel if this project is implemented.

However, the KNU/KNLA-PC already surveyed the land and said that it would move forward despite the opposition of the villagers.

Therefore, this project still poses a threat to local people. If the new town is built, the lands belonging to the woman interviewed by KHRG will be confiscated, and she expressed her concerns about this situation. The villagers whose lands have already been confiscated were not given compensation and they cannot work on their plantations anymore. However, they did not have to relocate, as the confiscated lands were grazing and plantation lands located outside their village