Local army and navy units in Mon State have seized over the past two months more than 3,000 acres of rubber tree plantations from local farmers on Kywekonnyima Island near Ye Township, displacing more than 20 families without offering any compensation, according to local sources.
Nai Au Mon, the head of the Thailand-based Human Rights Foundation of Monland, told The Irrawaddy on Friday that Naval Infantry Battalion 43 had confiscated rubber tree plots in eastern Kywekonnyima, western Kywekonnyima and Minthar villages, resulting in a severe job scarcity in the areas. Consequently, he said, the more than 20 families directly affected have already moved to Thailand, he said.
He said 70 percent of the people in Mon State depend on rubber plantations for their livelihoods, but over time, the government, acting through the army and navy, has continuously seized their lands.
He added that most local people do not understand about labor laws and human rights, and that because of poor infrastructure and roads they have little access to other areas.
Local sources in Moulmein, the capital of Mon state, told The Irrawaddy that more than 10,000 acres of rubber tree plantations in Moulmein, Thanpyuzayat, Mudon, Kyaikmayaw and Ye townships were confiscated during 2010.
“Boards reading ‘Army Area, No Trespassing!’ have been placed inside our plantations,” said a plot owner in Mudon. “We are physically threatened any time we try to extract latex.”
He said friends and family members of army and navy personnel are been allocated the plots that were previously owned by local farmers, or are being offered jobs in the rubber plantations.
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