Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Hundreds receive free legal advice from NLD in capital

A lawyer provides free legal advice in the NLD office in Zabuthiri township, Nay Pyi Taw. Win Ko Ko Latt/ The Myanmar TimesA lawyer provides free legal advice in the NLD office in Zabuthiri township, Nay Pyi Taw. Win Ko Ko Latt/ The Myanmar Times

The National League for Democracy’s free legal service in Nay Pyi Taw has received almost 260 complaints, most concerning land confiscations, in the three weeks since it was launched, a party official said last week.

“We are mainly dealing with compensation for land seizures. We forwarded the complaints to the respective [government] departments,” said U Khin Mg Zaw, a lawyer and member of the party’s Zabuthiri township office.

The service was launched on August 15 and has about 20 lawyers, who provide free legal advice on Saturdays and Sundays. The first weekend the party offered the service it received 49 complaints, followed by 114 on August 25 and 26 and another 94 in early September, U Khin Mg Zaw said, adding that from half to two-thirds of the complaints related to incidents that occurred in the Nay Pyi Taw area.

Other complaints have come from Waw township in Bago Region, and Mayangone and Kawhmu townships in Yangon Region.

The complaints were submitted to the relevant government departments through the Judiciary and Legal Affair Committee chaired by Thura U Aung Ko, while complaints directly addressed to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, chair of Rule of Law, Stability and Peace Committee, were forwarded to the NLD leader via U Phyo Zayar Thaw, the party’s representative for Zabuthiri.

NLD representatives are also helping to resolve the complaints by working directly with government departments.

However, in some cases the complainants have misunderstood the law, he said.

“We discuss with those who misunderstand the law and have sent us complaints that have already been decided by rule of law,” U Khin Mg Zaw said.

One complaint relates to the confiscation of about 40 acres of farmland in Nyaung Pin Gyi Su village in Pobbathiri township by Nay Pyi Taw City Development Committee in 2004.

“In our village, some became landless or casual labourers after their farmlands were seized,” said Ko Aung Moe, 24, whose family lost about 5 acres of farmland.

In their complaint to the NLD, the villagers complained that the municipal authorities did not pay compensation fairly, with some receiving compensation multiple times and others receiving as little as K50,000, Ko Aung Moe said. – Translated by Zar Zar Soe