Displaced Long Ago, Rangoon Residents Call for Justice

Protesters hold up signs on Sunday at a rally against development company Wah Wah Win, which built an expensive residential compound on their land nearly two decades ago in east Rangoon. (Photo: The Irrawaddy)

RANGOON—Nineteen years after being forced out of their homes by local authorities, dozens of people rallied on Sunday in east Rangoon to demand the justice they have been denied for nearly two decades.

The protesters gathered in their former neighborhood, Myanma Gohn Yaung in Tamwe Township, where local authorities claimed 771 of their homes in 1994. The authorities said the area was needed for a Burma Navy barrack, but an expensive residential compound was built there instead by a development company, Wah Wah Win.

The former residents say they could not voice their complaints during the former military regime, but after a quasi-civilian administration came to power in 2011, they were emboldened to report their case to a government investigation commission last year.

The group on Sunday called on the government to investigate the confiscation of their homes, which they called a misuse of power by local authorities. They also called on the developer to give them apartments as compensation, which they say was a common policy for victims of other land grab cases in 1994, when the government was practicing a “hut-to-apartment” policy to raise the living standards of local people.

4 Responses to Displaced Long Ago, Rangoon Residents Call for Justice

  1. The chickens are coming home to roost. Rule of law owed to so many for so long. ASSK has her work cut out. Will she oversee justice served to the people? Or will she give the rich and the powerful a second chance instead? Such kindness and generosity of heart must be unique.

  2. Old wounds need to be healed properly. Since Thein Sein and Shwe Mann were parts of the former junta, they need to solve these ugly wounds and scars with fair compensations. Land confiscation must stop also in the future. Companies need to buy lands if they need them. Or fair compensation is acceptable. Driving away the owners without fair compensation is totalitarian way of running business. It will no longer work. Lawsuits and litigation need to be avoided. Love, compassion and care must be the first rule and policy for authorities. If they fail to serve the public interest, they better pack their bags and go home.

  3. Land confiscation? If there is the land not been held a proper grant from land office of the state this is called squatter settlements. They can be removed anytime for the better development of the state. This is happening in every sovereign states.

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