Yangon govt to evict ‘fake squatters’ and send others to ‘rehab’ camps

Hundreds of thousands of residents of slums on the outskirts of Yangon will be sent to government-run ‘rehabilitation’ camps while so-called “fake squatters” face eviction under new plans announced yesterday.

Yangon Region Chief Minister Phyo Min Thein said authorities will support the “real squatters” while they find jobs but punish those who are found to have other residences, the Myanmar Times reported.

There are believed to be as many as two million informal tenants in the city, most living in impoverished shanty towns in Hlaing Thayar Township. Many were pushed there by Cyclone Nargis in 2008.

The first step in plans to tackle the problem will be a census, according to Phyo Min Thein. During the counting, security will be stepped up in case of violence.

“After counting, we will inspect their backgrounds and we will give ID cards to real squatters so they can live in the camp,” he said. “We won’t allow them to stay freely in these camps. They will have to work in order to learn to stand on their own feet.”

The government will assist “real squatters until they can reach a stable condition with a job.”

The new policy represents a clear break from the practices of the former military-backed government, which held mass forced evictions of slum communities in Yangon and Mandalay.

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