March 5, 2013

A report by Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)

Reports of business and development projects in eastern Burma have increased substantially in the wake of government reforms and the ceasefire signed with the Karen National Union (KNU) in January 2012. While the cessation of armed conflict has made the area more accessible to investment and commercial interests, eastern Burma remains a highly militarized environment. In this context, where abundant resources provide lucrative opportunities for many, and a culture of coercion and impunity is entrenched after decades of war, villagers understand that demand for land carries an implicit threat. Villagers consistently report that their perspectives are excluded from the planning and implementation of these projects, which often provide little or no benefit to the local community or result in substantial, often irreversible, harm.

Villagers described land confiscation and forced displacement occurring without consultation, compensation, or, often, notification. Displacements have taken place most frequently around natural resource extraction, industry and development projects.

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