Myanmar refugees face land challenges on return

NAYPYITAW, Myanmar, Dec. 5 (UPI) — Human rights groups say the deck is stacked against returning refugees who are trying to resettle land abandoned during Myanmar’s fight with Kachin rebels.

“It seems there is an inadequate legal framework to ensure the satisfactory protection of land rights of the displaced Kachin people,” Simon Young, an adviser for advocacy group Legal Aid Network, told the United Nations’ Integrated Regional Information Networks.

IRIN reported Thursday many returning refugees are facing land tenure challenges with a government coordinating a series of cease-fire agreements between the many armed groups in Myanmar.

Last month, the European Union said it was alarmed by ongoing fighting between the separatist rebels in the northern Myanmar state of Kachin and the nation’s military. Clashes with armed groups in Myanmar are undermining political reforms made since 2010 elections.

Ah Han, director of the Kachin Development Networking Group, told IRIN returning refugees were coming home to find their farms have been used for gold mining operations.

IRIN reports Myanmar law states the government has control over lands containing natural resources.