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Home > Main Library > Internal Displacement/Forced Migration > Burma: Internal displacement/forced migration of individual ethnic groups > Internal displacement/forced migration of Mon villagers

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Internal displacement/forced migration of Mon villagers

Individual Documents

Title: Invisible Lives - The Untold Story of Displacement Cycle in Burma - Burmese (ျမန္မာဘာသာ)
Date of publication: 12 August 2016
Description/subject: Executive Summary: "Recently, much attention surrounding Burma has focused on the democratic reform, 2015 elections and the future of the National League for Democracy (NLD)-led Government, whilst a profound humanitarian crisis and continuing concerns of the ethnic minority communities in the southeast have been largely ignored. The recent story of political and economic reform has insufficiently addressed the ongoing struggles of internally displaced persons (IDPs), as they become an inconvenient truth rendered invisible by the larger reform narrative. Nearly 70 years of ethnic conflict has created a displacement crisis with over 644,000 internally displaced and over 479,000 refugees fleeing the country predominantly from ethnic areas. At present, over 100,000 refugees live in camps along the Thailand-Burma border, and approximately 400,000 IDPs live in protracted displacement in southeast Burma. As the continuing political and social transformation in Burma and the triumph of the NLD in the 2015 elections captivates local citizens and foreign observers around the world, optimism and the infectious idea that those displaced will soon begin to move back to Burma has led to further decline in donor funding along the Thailand-Burma border. This has deeply impacted the refugees and IDPs living along the border whose lives depend on international aid as well as essential services and programs offered by local ethnic service providers, which were traditionally funded by the international donor community. Many refugees are now feeling squeezed out of the camps, bearing a resemblance to the experience of Mon refugees who were pushed back across the border to Burma and became IDPs over 20 years ago. As expressed by many Mon IDPs interviewed for this report, they have yet to find durable livelihood solutions in IDP sites and continue to suffer from chronic poverty, debt and lack of medical care. Inside Burma, stagnation in amending repressive laws, military dominance in politics, the absence of an inclusive ceasefire and political dialogue, the presence of landmines and land confiscation that has become endemic throughout the country continue to render the definition of a safe and dignified voluntary return of refugees meaningless. As plans to repatriate over 100,000 refugees along the border continue to be discussed, there is an increasing need to reflect on the past and draw lessons that could prevent a future protracted IDP situation in the country. This report aims to shed light on lessons that can be learned from the past for all stakeholders involved in all stages of planning for the return of refugees and IDPs. While the IDPs interviewed for this report expressed their desire to stay in their current locations as opposed to relocation or return to their original location, they often cited two major obstacles to their possible return: not having land to return to and continuing considerations about safety including lack of sustainable peace in their place of origin. The plight of villagers and farmers in Ye and Yebyu Township in their struggle to preserve and protect their land from the Burma Army, the State and private investors indicate that refugees and IDPs are likely to face increasing housing, land and property (HLP) rights violations upon their return. These HLP rights violations must be resolved not only to ensure the durable return of IDPs and refugees, but also to end further displacement that is adding to the already vast number of displaced people inside and out of the country. Steps must also be taken to ensure that a genuine and inclusive peace process remains a priority, as it is only through an inclusive ceasefire and sustainable peace that a durable solution can be found for the disenfranchised and displaced communities in Burma. Community-based organizations (CBOs), ethnic service providers, and grassroots movements with decades of experience and knowledge that have worked side-by-side with their communities through difficult and challenging times are tackling these very issues and concerns that the IDPs, refugees and villagers are facing. As the new NLD-led Government has begun to take the reins of the political and economic reforms set in motion by the previous government, all parties must ensure that the efforts of those who have consistently worked alongside ethnic communities are supported and advocated, and not sidelined. HLP rights of refugees and IDPs must be restored, laws that are legacies of the past must be amended, landmines must be cleared from the land and an inclusive ceasefire followed by a political solution is needed to protect them from further abuse and possible secondary displacement before a durable livelihood solution can be achieved. National reconciliation is possible only when victims begin receiving the support they need to ensure that they can rebuild their lives in safety and dignity."
Language: Burmese (ျမန္မာဘာသာ)
Source/publisher: HURFOM, Burma Partnership, Burma Link
Format/size: pdf (904K)
Date of entry/update: 12 August 2016

Title: Land Confiscation Continues under the Name of Development: Mon Human Rights Defender Nai Aue Mon
Date of publication: 29 February 2016
Description/subject: "“We have to work with the voice of the people,” Nai Aue Mon tells me in Sangkhlaburi, Thailand, as we discuss the recent rise of land confiscation and land disputes in the Mon State. Aue Mon has been with the Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) since 1999, when he started witnessing the abuse and violations of the rights of civilians in the Mon State. He first began working as a journalist for the Mon publication Guiding Star, before beginning his work as documenting and defending human rights. In this in-depth interview, Nai Aue Mon explains about the historical and current human rights situation in the Mon areas, as well as the ongoing and emerging struggles and challenges faced by the tens of thousands of IDPs (internally displaced persons) in his native Mon State. Nai Aue Mon has great hopes for the future of the country, particularly in the context of the new NLD government taking office. But amidst these hopes, however, on the ground situation indicates a turn from physical violations to increasing land conflicts driven “under the name of development.” Nai Aue Mon is now the Program Director of HURFOM, and hopes to realise their long term goal of bringing transitional justice and memorialization activities to the victims of this decades-long abuse."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Link
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 16 March 2016

Title: Destination Unknown: Hope and Doubt Regarding IDP Resettlement in Mon State
Date of publication: 18 October 2012
Description/subject: Executive Summary: "The growing optimism surrounding Burma’s political and social transitions has begun to be accompanied by ambitions to resettle displaced communities along the country’s border with Thailand. As the notion and its attendant proposals continue to proliferate, it seems timely to assess how the communities directly affected by this prospect feel about resettlement. Interviews were conducted with 61 Mon internally displaced people (IDPs) who expressed an array of views ranging from excitement for better jobs in new locations to utter refusal for fear of renewed conflict. Concerns in the IDP community that relocation could lead to a recurrence of violence or exploitation may seem unfounded to those flushed with enthusiasm for Burma’s brisk pace of reform. However, it is precisely because of this rapid shift, after fifty years of a deeply entrenched system of repression, that many ethnic communities are unable to abruptly shed their enduring memories of systematic injustice. Similarly, for people in remote areas, there has not yet been adequate evidence of improvements to daily life or sufficient trust built between disparate groups to warrant immediate, broad-based support. Importantly, almost all interviewees that addressed resettlement used “if” to describe their opinions, explaining that relocation is attractive only if adequate security, employment, education, and healthcare services are provided. This highlights fundamental priorities among IDPs, but also showcases the lack of information currently granted to internally displaced people. For those that had heard about relocation, many did not know if it was true, or where and when they might go, or if it even applied to them. This incomplete information sharing has led to resettlement constituting little more than a rumor in IDP sites, and the consequent anxiety and confusion has been unnecessary and detrimental. The process needed to develop resettlement programs offers a singular opportunity to build trust with IDP communities by employing an inclusive and participatory approach. The varying opinions and levels of support for resettlement demonstrated in this report serve as a key indicator that the IDP community is not a homogeneous group about which conclusions can be easily or independently reached. Some IDPs reported enjoying new freedoms and infrastructure projects, while other accounts were framed by doubt, exhibiting vivid memories of past abuses and few observations of significant change. In any case, each individual IDP or IDP family has a unique set of values and experiences that will define what an agreeable future looks like, and each must be given the chance to make free, prior, and informed decisions regarding engagement with resettlement programs. This report’s primary aim is to amplify the voices of Mon IDPs and encourage the incorporation of their opinions into the development of resettlement agendas. We urge that the President Thein Sein government, the New Mon State Party, and associated international organizations be directly accountable to IDP populations by respecting their narratives and promoting full transparency in every stage of the process. While recent, positive changes may provide compelling reasons for people to return, they should not completely overwhelm considerations of why they left."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM)
Format/size: pdf (1.39MB)
Date of entry/update: 18 October 2012

Title: Hardship of displaced families in the rural area
Date of publication: 31 October 2003
Description/subject: "...‘The population displacement’ is a forgotten problem in Burma. While many people are talking ‘negotiation’ and ‘national reconciliation’, but there is no real solution how to stop the displacement in the country. It is also a serious issue which is necessary to consider. However, the population displacement always relates to war, and so that it is needed to stop war if we want to stop the population displacement problems"
Language: English
Source/publisher: Women and Child Rights Project (Southern Burma)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 06 April 2004

Title: No Land to Farm
Date of publication: 30 September 2003
Description/subject: "...In the last four years, the Burmese army based in Mon State has confiscated thousands acres of farmland. The farmers whose land had been confiscated were not given any compensation. They have no opportunity to take legal actions against the army. As a result, many farmers who lost their lands left to Thailand to seek employment. Those who stayed in villages and towns became landless and jobless..." Land confiscation by the Burmese military - description, analysis and case studies.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 18 June 2004