Ceasefires facilitating land grabs: Think tank
A briefing paper jointly published earlier this month by the Netherlands-based think tank groups has asserted that new ceasefires that have been signed since 2011 have further facilitated land grabbing in conflict-affected areas where large development projects in resource-rich ethnic regions have already taken place.
“The ceasefires with armed groups have made the land more accessible to commercial interests backed by the central government and military,” says Access Denied: Land Rights and Ethnic Conflict in Burma, prepared by Transnational Institute (TNI) and Burma Centrum Nederland (BCN).
A representative of a Karen civil society organization agrees. “Because of the conflict the original population has fled and their land has not been used for a long time,” the representative says. “The government realizes this, and companies have started to apply for permission to use this land. Villagers coming back find their land occupied.”
In some cases, as in Karen State as well as Shan State, land is being confiscated also by groups that had made peace with the central government, like the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) in Karen and PaO National Army (PNA) in Shan.