EXTRACTS ON URBAN DISPLACEMENT IN BURMA
FROM
US STATE DEPARTMENT COUNTRY REPORTS ON HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES



Events of 2005, published 2006

1.f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

Reports of forced relocation in urban areas lessened; however, the government reportedly continued to relocate forcibly households for "security" reasons. In Rangoon, persons were forced to leave homes or dwellings located on property that could be used for commercial gain. In some cases those forced to move were poorly compensated. In 2004 the government gave notices to retired civil servants to move from at least two locations in Rangoon by 2005. At the end of the year, they remained in their homes. In November the government ordered civil servants to relocate without their families to a new administrative capital in Pyinmana.

There were numerous reports that government troops looted and confiscated property and possessions from forcibly relocated persons, or persons who were away from their homes. These materials often were used for military construction.

 

Events of 2004, published 2005

1.f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

Reports of forced relocation in urban areas lessened; however, the Government reportedly continued to forcibly relocate households for "security" reasons. In Rangoon, persons were forced to leave homes or dwellings located on property that could be used for commercial gain. In some cases, those forced to move were poorly compensated. During the year the Government gave notices to retired civil servants to move from at least two locations in Rangoon by 2005. In 2003, the Government forced retired civil servants, who had lived for generations in downtown Rangoon, to move out with inadequate compensation. Senior Government officials ignored appeals, and under duress many residents accepted relocation to apartments estimated to be worth approximately 10 percent of the value of their vacated homes. There were numerous reports that government troops looted and confiscated property and possessions from forcibly relocated persons, or persons who were away from their homes. These materials often were used for military construction.


Events of 2003, published 2004

1. f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence
...

To make way for commercial or public construction and, in some cases, for reasons of internal security and political control, the SPDC forcibly relocated citizens to "new towns." This practice of setting up new towns has become somewhat less common in recent years. Persons relocated to new towns generally suffered from greatly reduced infrastructure support. Residents targeted for displacement generally were given no option but to move, usually on short notice (see Sections 1.c. and 2.d.).

2.d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

Reports of forced relocation in urban areas lessened on the whole; however, since late 2002 there were still reports of the Government forcibly relocating households for "security" reasons. In Rangoon there were several commercially motivated forced relocations. In one case, the Government forced retired civil servants, who had lived for generations in downtown Rangoon, to move out with inadequate compensation. Senior Government officials ignored appeals, and under duress many residents accepted relocation to apartments estimated to be worth approximately 10 percent the value of their vacated homes. There were numerous reports that Government troops looted and confiscated property and possessions from forcibly relocated persons, or persons who were away from their homes; these materials often were used for military construction.

Events of 2002, published 2003

1. c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

In early March, in downtown Rangoon, residents of 25 homes in Weggi quarter were ordered by the regional military commander to vacate their houses by the end of the month. These persons, many of whom were long time residents, appealed the order to senior SPDC officials to no avail. Under military threats, many accepted relocation to apartments estimated to be worth approximately 10 percent the value of their vacated homes. On April 5, armed military authorities forced remaining tenants to leave their houses, arresting those who refused. The homes were destroyed, reportedly to make way for construction of new residences for families or companies connected to the regime.

1. f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

To make way for commercial or public construction and, in some cases, for reasons of internal security and political control, the SPDC forcibly relocated citizens to "new towns." This practice has become somewhat less common in recent years. Persons relocated to new towns generally suffered from greatly reduced infrastructure support. Residents targeted for displacement generally were given no option but to move, usually on short notice (see Sections 1.c. and 2.d.).

In 2000 in Rakhine State, the regime forcibly relocated several largely Muslim villages and resettled the area with Buddhist Burmans, who were forced to move from Dagon township in Rangoon division.

 

Events of 2001, published 2002

1. f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

To make way for commercial or public construction and, in some cases, for reasons of internal security and political control, the SPDC has relocated forcibly citizens to "new towns." Prevalent during the early 1990's, this practice has become somewhat less common in recent years. Persons relocated to new towns generally suffer from greatly reduced infrastructure support, and residents targeted for displacement generally are given no option but to move, usually on short notice .


Events of 2000, published 2001

1. f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

To make way for commercial or public construction and, in some cases, for reasons of internal security and political control, the SPDC has relocated forcibly citizens to "new towns."  Prevalent during the early 1990's, this practice has become much more restrictive.  Persons relocated to new towns generally suffer from greatly reduced infrastructure support, and residents targeted for displacement generally are given no option but to move, usually on short notice.

 

Events of 1999, published 2000

1. f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

To make way for commercial or public construction and in some cases for reasons of internal security and political control, the SPDC continued to relocate citizens out of cities to new towns; however, this occurred on a much smaller scale than during the early 1990's. Persons relocated to " new towns" continued to suffer from greatly reduced infrastructure support and living standards, and residents targeted for displacement continued to be given no option but to move, usually on short notice.

.

In a number of urban areas, residents were compelled to cede use of land for road widening and a host of other projects approved without any public consultation or endorsement. Other long-term city residents were required to cede use of land for commercial redevelopment and were compensated at only a fraction of the value of their lost homes.

 

Events of 1998, published 1999

1. f. Arbitrary Interference With Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

To make way for commercial or public construction, and in some cases for security reasons, the SPDC continued to relocate citizens out of cities to new towns, although on a much smaller scale than during the early 1990's. While facilities in these areas have improved over time, residents targeted for displacement continued to be given no option but to move, usually on short notice.


In a number of urban areas, residents were compelled to cede land for road widening and a host of other projects approved without any public consultation or endorsement. Other long-term city residents were required to cede land for commercial redevelopment and were compensated at only a fraction of the value of their lost homes


In urban
Rangoon, previously confiscated land was developed into high-density housing that previously evicted tenants could purchase only at prices beyond the means of many.


Events of 1997, published 1998

1.
f. Arbitrary Interference With Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

To make way for commercial or public construction, and in some cases for security reasons, the SLORC continued to move people out of cities to peripheral new town settlements, although on a smaller scale than during the early 1990's. While facilities in some of these areas have improved over time, residents targeted for displacement continued to be given no option but to move, usually on short notice.

In a number of urban areas, residents were compelled to cede land for road-widening projects approved without any public consultation or endorsement. Other long-term city residents were required to cede land for commercial redevelopment and were compensated at only a fraction of the value of their lost homes. For example, the Government forced residents in the Hledan market area of Rangoon to relocate to make way for an apartment complex without paying compensation for their homes; residents were given the option to buy new apartments outside the city.


Events of 1996, published 1997

1. f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, and Correspondence

The SLORC continued to move citizens out of cities to peripheral new town settlements, though not on the same scale as in the early 1990's. While facilities in some of these areas have improved over time, residents targeted for displacement continued to be given no option but to move, usually on short notice. In Hlaing Thaya township near Rangoon, residents were relocated again after having been moved in 1992.

Those in established cities and towns were subject to arbitrary seizure of their property. In a number of urban areas, residents were compelled to cede land for road-widening projects decided upon without any public consultation nor endorsement. Other long-term city residents were required to cede land for commercial redevelopment and were compensated at only a fraction of the value of their lost homes. In rural areas, military personnel at times confiscated livestock and food supplies. Even the resting places of the dead were not spared as the Government took over several cemeteries for development and gave families only a few weeks to relocate their ancestors' remains.

 

Events of 1995, published 1996

1. f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, and Correspondence



The SLORC continued to move people out of cities to peripheral new town settlements, though not on the same scale as in the early 1990's. While facilities in some of these areas have improved over time, residents targeted for displacement continued to be given no option but to move, usually on short notice. The military also continued to relocate forcibly some rural villages, especially in ethnic minority areas.

Those able to remain in established cities and towns were subject to arbitrary seizure of their property. In a number of urban areas, residents were compelled to cede land for road-widening projects decided upon without any public consultation or endorsement. Other long-term city residents were required to cede land for commercial redevelopment and were compensated at only a fraction of the value of their lost homes.

 

Events of 1994, published 1995

1. f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or  Correspondence

In its most intensive and egregious infringement of privacy  rights, the Government continued its program of forced resettlement, involving an estimated half-million urban  residents throughout Burma since 1989.  While most of those  forced to move were described as "squatters," some people had  been living in and paying rent on their former home sites for  many years and had constructed permanent houses.  The  Government has made people move, almost totally at their own  expense, to "new towns" which are far from their previous  residences.  "New  town" occupants often live on former rice  paddy land, subject to flooding in the rainy season, without  adequate transportation, medical facilities, shelter, or sanitation.  In 1993 conditions at some resettlement sites  improved, but, according to international observers, such  improvements were often unable to keep pace with the rate of  new arrivals.  Some outside experts accept the Government's  explanation that the resettlement program serves legitimate  long-term urban planning objectives, but they do not endorse  the forceful methods used to move people.

 

Events of 1993, published 1994

1. f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence
...

In its most intensive and egregious infringement of privacy rights, the Government continued its program of forced resettlement, involving an estimated half-million urban residents throughout Burma since 1989. While most of those forced to move were described as "squatters," some people had been living in and paying rent on their former home sites for many years and had constructed permanent houses. The Government has made people move, almost totally at their own expense, to "new towns" which are far from their previous residences. "New town" occupants often live on former rice paddy land, subject to flooding in the rainy season, without adequate transportation, medical facilities, shelter, or sanitation. In 1993 conditions at some resettlement sites improved, but, according to international observers, such improvements were often unable to keep pace with the rate of new arrivals. Some outside experts accept the Government's explanation that the resettlement program serves legitimate long-term urban planning objectives, but they do not endorse the forceful methods used to move people.