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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

Myanmar junta now stripping Rohingyas of land ownership

A total of more than 700 acres in two townships—Maungdaw and Buthidaung—are about to be handed over to the military-controlled No 1 Border Guard Police Division Office, show documents seen by the Myanmar Now news agency

Update : 27 Oct 2022, 12:12 AM

In what can be dubbed as the latest nail in the coffin of Rohingya's existence in the Rakhine state, the Myanmar junta has officially started transferring ownership of Rohingya villages destroyed or occupied since 2017, to the country's border security forces.

This means the Rohingyas, who fled Myanmar leaving behind their land following the notorious 2017 crackdown, will no longer have ownership of the properties there once the transfer procedure is completed.

A total of more than 700 acres in two townships—Maungdaw and Buthidaung—are about to be handed over to the military-controlled No 1 Border Guard Police Division Office, show documents seen by the Myanmar Now news agency.

The junta's No 9 Border Guard Force currently occupies more than 200 acres of Myin Hlut, including more than 150 designated as restricted land covered by the last elected National League of Democracy's (NLD) directive.

In addition to, the land in Myin Hlut, there are 120.06 acres in Myo Thu Gyi (Yar Zar Bi), 205.21 acres in Aung Sit Pyin, 103.40 acres in Zin Paing Nyar, and 9.98 acres in Ah Lel Chaung under the junta's arrangement.

In September, the regime's deputy minister of home affairs sent a letter to the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Union Government Office, requesting permission to repeal a “regional directive” issued by Maungdaw's General Administration Department (GAD) two years ago restricting the use of lands abandoned by the Rohingya minority.

He said in the letter that the purpose of the repeal was to "officially register the ownership of those lands under the No 1 Border Guard Police Division Office."

Later on, the Ministry of Union Government Office ordered the junta's Rakhine State Administration on October 8 to proceed with the repeal.

On February 15, 2020, the Maungdaw Township GAD was instructed by the then NLD civilian government to issue a directive barring “individuals not associated with [the affected land] from living, growing crops, and farming there.”

According to Nay San Lwin, the co-founder of the activist group the Free Rohingya Coalition, the latest move by the regime means that even if Rohingya genocide survivors are ever allowed to return to Myanmar, they will be forced to live in concentration camps, like those created for displaced Rohingya villagers in Sittwe, the state capital.

“All these lands must be returned to their Rohingya owners once a democratic government is back in power,” he said.

Myanmar expert, Maj Gen (retd) Md Nayeem A Chowdhury, citing similar measures by Myanmar rulers against the minority group in the past, said: “The latest step is nothing unfamiliar; it is also the part of their plan to naturalize the migrated Rohingyas across the world.

“They made a similar kind of arrangement before by allocating Rohingyas' land to prisoners from other tribes and establishing villages,” he told Dhaka Tribune.

“Hence, the latest move is a step forward towards erasing the trace of Rohingyas from Myanmar so they can never claim or find their existence there further,” he concluded.


Faiaze Ibne Kabir contributed to the report.

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