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Displaced Rohingyas Denied Right to Fully Reclaim their Lands

By Rohingya Mirror | March 11, 2017

Maungdaw – The Myanmar government has denied the displaced Rohingya people in Maungdaw Township the right to fully reclaim their lands after they were internally displaced from their homes last year, according to the reliable sources.

The Myanmar military along with the Border Guard Police (BGP) almost entirely burnt down numbers of Rohingya villages during the so-called ‘Clearance Operation’ by the Myanmar military in October-November in 2016 forcing thousands of people to flee from the country or internally displaced.

As the situation has calmed down to an extent now, many displaced people taking shelter in the neighborhoods are returning to their villages and erecting shelter-tents/huts on their original lands. On April 4, the Maungdaw Township Administration ordered the village administrators of the mentioned villages to demolish the huts erected by the displaced people.

The government has declared that the lands of the burned villages now belong to the government and the displaced people have no longer rights to claim their own lands. The government has been implementing a rehabilitation plan for the displaced people, which they oppose.

“The military have burnt down our homes. Now, the authorities claim that we no longer own our lands. They are instead giving us a 40 square feet of plot for a family which has three to four households and said they are giving us these little ground plots on the ground of sympathy” said an internally displaced Rohingya while speaking to Rohingya Vision TV.

In Arakan state (now known as Rakhine state), a Rohingya family has many members resulting from the government’s refusals to issue or separate ‘New Household Registration Lists’ growing numbers of family members.

The displaced man continued “me; my grand-parents; my parents; and my siblings and their child; all are in one ‘Family List.’ The government has refused to separate our family lists despite our repeated applications. And they complain we, Rohingyas, have big families and many children.

“And these huge numbers of people can’t live in a single house and so, we need to build small side-house but we are only allowed to have one house as per our family household list. Now, according to the current rehabilitation plan, it is like at least 40 people have will cram and live in a small space of 40 square feet.”

After the Myanmar armed forces such as the military and the Border Guard Police (BGP) burned down thousands of the Rohingya homes at the villages of ‘Wapeik’, ‘Pwint Phyu Chaung’, ‘Kyar Gaung Taung’, ‘Myau Taung’, ‘Ye Khae Chaung KhwaSone’, ‘Dar Gyi Zar’, ‘Thayet Oak’, ‘Thu Oo Hla’, Kyet Yoe Pyin’, ‘Ngar Sar Kyu’, and ‘Oo Kyi Kyar’ etc on the pretext of ‘the so-called Operation Clearance’ on October 9, 2016. More than 70,000 people have fled to Bangladesh, while thousands remain as the IDP (internally displaced people) in the country.

After March 3, the authorities levelled the burnt Rohingya homes at the village of ‘Wapeik’ and destroyed the earlier shape/map of the village. Confiscating two-third of the earlier Rohingya-owned lands in the village, the government has planned to share only one-third of the village to villagers. Similar planning have been implemented all over northern Maungdaw.

[Edited by M.S. Anwar]

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