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MAUNGDAW — BGP (Border Guard Police) order to stop building temporary shelters descended suddenly on Rohingya survivors whose houses were burnt down during the 2017 military crackdown despite having permission from the higher authority, MAYAKA (a Burmese acronym for Township General Administration) in Maungdaw, Rohingya Eye reported.

According to the source, earlier last month, the MAYAKA announced in its meeting that it is going to compensate about 1500 Rohingya families in the northern neighborhood of Urban Maungdaw, who were displaced internally after they were affected and their houses were burnt down during 2019 military operation so that they can rebuild their houses in their original locations.

Accordingly, MAYAKA assigned some 250,000 kyats to each of the victim families, but while distributing the cash in Kyauk Hlay Kar, Northern Maungdaw, some families received half the amount, while many other families were totally deprived of this assistance though they were registered.

In this village, 130 families were to be benefitted while 24 families were paid 120,000 kyats each, and other 15 families were paid nothing. Similarly, there were 6 families in Thay Chaung and 10 families in Ywar Thit hamlet of Kyauk Hlay Kar who didn’t received any payment despite being listed as eligible victims.

A MAYAKA delegation during its field trip to the affected area distributed the cash in collaboration with the village administration.” said a victim, adding “Many people received the full payment, some received half and others received no payment. It seems that some party has manipulated the fund.

When the people started building temporary shelters in their original places – as the amount is not enough to build the houses as it was –, the BGP Sector 6 intervened and required permission. Later the people acquired written collective permission from the MAYAKA through the Village Administration, the BGP still rejected the permission and ordered to stop building the shelters.

In Shwe Zar as well each affected family is said to have received 250,000 kyats. But, opposing the MAYAKA’s oral permission, the BGP stopped all the Rohingya rebuilding their shelters in their original places.

Rohingya Eye commented on the situation, “The situation suggests that there may be a hidden agreement between MAYAKA and the BGP. To avoid external criticism, the MAYAKA assisted and permitted the survivors to rebuild their houses on one hand, and on the other hand, they might have confidentially directed the local BGP authority to prevent the implementation”.

Secondly, the MAYAKA didn’t provide individual permission, instead, it issued a collective permission – either oral or written – for all. This may be another tactic to take action sooner or later by the authorities against those who will have built their shelters under the pretext of lack of individual permission.

Another victim told RVision on condition of anonymity, “The amount paid is 120K to 250K Kyats. This is not enough even to build a temporary shelter with bamboos, woods, and leaves. 100 bamboos are currently 40,000 kyats and 100 thatch (of nipa palm leaves stitched for roofing) is about 60,000 kyats. How to build a shelter with this amount? In addition, they (authorities) are not allowing us to build long-lasting houses even on our own expenses.