Northern Yangon squatters notified of impending eviction
SQUATTERS living in five villages of northern Yangon Region have been given a September 5 deadline to clear out of their illegal dwellings, according to a press conference held by members of the affected populations.
About 1000 people living in the Hlegu township villages of Sa Khan Gyi, Yadanar Aung, Aung Yadanar, Kant Kaw and Sein Lan received notice of the impending eviction.
A group of leaders from the villages held a press conference yesterday to explain their reasons for staying in the villages illegally and convey difficulties they face. They also requested that any forced eviction come only if an alternative living arrangement can be offered.
On August 21, the director of the Ministry of Construction’s Urban and Housing Development Department for Yangon Region, U Yu Khine, told the squatters to move out by September 6, according to U Pyone Cho from Yadanar Aung village.
U Yu Khine reportedly told the affected communities that there were plans for a housing project and construction of schools and other buildings in the areas in question, necessitating the eviction.
An 88 Generation Karen students’ organisation has issued an appeal letter to Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein on behalf of the squatters regarding the planned eviction. Copies of the letter were sent to the Ministry of Construction and U Yu Khine on August 23.
“We are just helping them since they asked for help,” said Nann Mu Khan, a member of the organisation.
U Pyone Cho said removing the squatters against their will would not likely produce the regional government’s desired outcome.
“If they are going to destroy [our houses] again, we just have to watch it happen and then we will build tents again since we have nowhere to go,” he said.
The Yangon Region administration has struggled to tackle the issue of illegal residency in the commercial capital and its outlying townships, where tens of thousands have moved in recent years seeking employment opportunities.
The previous government was partial to forcibly clearing squatterdense wards, sometimes dismantling their shanties in the early hours of the morning.
A leader from one of the squatter villages facing eviction speaks at a press conference yesterday.