Burma named worst violator of housing rights

Dec 6, 2007 (DVB), The Burmese ruling State Peace and Development Council has been named one of the worst violators of housing rights by an international human rights organisation.

Since 2002, the Geneva-based Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions has nominated three governments or public institutions for its annual Housing Rights Violator Awards who have been responsible for particularly severe violations of housing rights.

COHRE deputy director Jean du Plessis said that the Burmese regime had shown an "abysmal disregard" for the basic right to housing.

"More than one million people have been dispossessed and are internally displaced in Burma , not because of a natural disaster, but due to their own government's calculated and brutal actions," he said in a press release.

He went on to described the severe violations of land rights in Burma, particularly those of ethnic minority groups.

"The military regime in Burma has displaced more than one million people from their lands and homes since 1962, disproportionately affecting ethnic nationality communities , which has included confiscating their lands," he said in the statement.

"The SPDC's brutal campaign against ethnic nationality communities , confiscating their lands, attacking and burning villages, killing thousands of civilians, raping women and looting property , is in clear breach of international law," he said.

"The military regime's 'Burmanisation' policy of ethnic cleansing and social engineering through forced relocation and land confiscation, which has led to the mass displacement of more than one million people from their lands and homes in Burma, is clear evidence of its complete disregard for human rights including the right to adequate housing."

Du Plessis said that fundamental changes needed to be made by the regime to enable people to access their rights.

"These problems can only be resolved through substantial and sustained change in Burma. Political transition should include improved access to a range of fundamental rights, as enshrined in international law and conventions

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