Toungoo Interview: Saw Bx---, January 2016

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Toungoo Interview: Saw Bx---, January 2016

Published date:
Friday, February 9, 2018

This Interview with Saw Bx--- describes events occurring in Htantabin Township, Toungoo District, during the period between December 2015 and January 2016, including land confiscation and demonstrations.

  • In 2009, Kaung Myanmar Aung Company (KMAC) confiscated land in O---, L---, M--- and N--- villages after successfully applying to the Burma/Myanmar government to designate those lands as virgin and uncultivated land. Villagers who were using that land for their livelihoods have been sued by KMAC for trespassing multiple times.
  • 80 farmers on December 5th 2015 and between 150-200 farmers on January 12th 2016 held protests against Kaung Myanmar Aung Company to attempt to regain their land. The protests lasted for three hours and the main slogans shouted were: “We want to regain our confiscated land. We do not want the Farmers’ Development Party. We do not want Kaung Myanmar Aung Company. Kaung Myanmar Aung Company must leave immediately.”
  • Saw Bx--- also describes in detail his experience protesting and explains his motivations for fighting this land confiscation case.

Footnotes

[1] KHRG trains community members in southeastern Burma/Myanmar to document individual human rights abuses using a standardised reporting format; conduct interviews with other villagers; and write general updates on the situation in areas with which they are familiar. When conducting interviews, community members are trained to use loose question guidelines, but also to encourage interviewees to speak freely about recent events, raise issues that they consider to be important and share their opinions or perspectives on abuse and other local dynamics.

[2] In order to increase the transparency of KHRG methodology and more directly communicate the experiences and perspectives of villagers in southeastern Burma/Myanmar, KHRG aims to make all field information received available on the KHRG website once it has been processed and translated, subject only to security considerations. For additional reports categorised by Type, Issue, Location and Year, please see the Related Readings component following each report on KHRG’s website.

[3] A village tract is an administrative unit of between five and 20 villages in a local area, often centred on a large village.

[4] Kaung Myanmar Aung Company (KMAC) or Kaung Myanmar Aung Group of Companies is a Myanmar-owned business group with investments in teak plantations in Toungoo District, and mining, agriculture, shipping, construction and real estate development within Myanmar. Their chairman is Mr Khin Maung Aye. KMAC have been implicated in land confiscation cases in southeast Myanmar which have included threats to villagers who were customary owners of the lands, see “Toungoo Situation Update: Thandaunggyi and Htantabin townships, November 2014 to February 2015,” July 2015. Affected villagers held protests against the company in 2015 and early 2016 in order to demand the return of their lands, see “Toungoo Situation Update: Thandaunggyi and Htantabin townships, November 2015 to January 2016,” July 2016. For information on a similar case with KMAC in Pyin Oo Lwin Township, Mandalay Division, see “Presidential adviser sues 13 farmers for trespassing,” Myanmar Times, September 2nd 2013.