Maungdaw, Arakan State: The Burma border security force (Nasaka) and army have been taking forced labor from Rohingya community to cultivate paddy for Natala (model) villagers in Maungdaw township recently, according to a village elder preferring not to be named. Natala villagers are new Buddhist settlers in northern Arakan who were brought from Burma proper and also from Bangladesh. They have been settled in Rohingya lands – confiscated lands from Rohingya community- and also provided lands.
“Nasaka and army ordered to the Rohingya villagers of Maungdaw south for tilling the arable lands which were given Natala villagers on July 6 and the villagers do not comply with the order.”
However, the next day, on July 7, a group of army and Nasaka personnel went to the Khonza Bill and Sommona villages of Maungdaw south and forced Rohingya villagers for tilling paddy fields with their own cows, said a farmer from the village.
“We worked whole day in the paddy fields, but we were not given any wage and food.”
After confiscating the lands from Roingya community, thousands of Rohingyas had already become poor, jobless and landless. It pushes Rohingya villagers and farmers into poverty and even they have been starving, according to rights worker from Maungdaw.
A villager told the Kaladan Press Network (KPN), “We are facing many difficulties in Arakan State because whenever the concerned authorities want to do with us, we have to follow it, otherwise, we will be punished.”
The Rohingya villagers are proving forced labor while they have been cornered in their villagers and have no access to do anything for their livelihood. Still villagers are not allowed to go freely from one place to another. All the business is controlled by the authorities and the local Rakhie people.