Kalay residents forced to dig drainage ditches Featured

Residents digging drainage ditches in front of their houses in Kalay, Sagaing Division (Photo: CHRO) Residents digging drainage ditches in front of their houses in Kalay, Sagaing Division (Photo: CHRO)
27 June 2016 - The Kalay Township Development Affairs Committee gave the order for residents in part of Kalay town, Sagaing Division to dig a ditch in front of their houses.

Thaung Shwe, chairperson of the committee, issued the letter on 17 June, forcing each household living in 19 wards to constuct their own ditches as the rainy reason was approaching.

The letter said that necessary action would be taken in accordance with the Sagaing Division municipal laws against those who did not follow the instructions.

A woman told the Chin Human Rights Organization on condition of anonymity: "I just received the letter today and today is the deadline. So, we cancelled all our work and started digging as much as we could to finish the ditch today as we don't want to get penalized."

Salai Tluang, a Kalay resident, said that people had been frightened and had tried their best to get the work done as they had not have any choice.

However, the residents complained that they had never expected they would be threatened and ordered to carry out any type of 'forced labour' under the new government led by the National League for Democracy, he added.

"We understand that if this is within our compound, we are responsible. But this is by and along the road although it is in front of our house. The way we understand is that the authorities are responsible for all of what we have just done," said the woman.

The majority population of the area - all the 19 wards - is Chin.#

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