Some 70 representatives of farmers’ organizations and civil society organizations from different parts of Burma gathered during a three-day meeting in Rangoon this week to hold the first of a number of discussions on the government’s new draft national land use policy.
Millions of small-scale farmers in Myanmar risk losing land under proposals to regulate land use which focus too much on investment and not enough on people's livelihoods, a Netherlands-based non-profit think tank warned on Thursday.
Three years ago, a quasi-civilian government took office in Burma, shedding the country’s pariah image and introducing democratic reforms that have won widespread praise. Yet events last week have raised doubts about the government’s reformist credentials and its commitment to a genuine democratic transition.
Negotiations have begun for an EU investor protection agreement with Myanmar that would imbed international arbitration as the preferential dispute mechanism, although observers said such a clause could ultimately be detrimental for the country.
The head of the United Nations’ technical advisory board for Myanmar’s census has dismissed criticisms of the process and blamed civil society and human rights groups for having “inflamed” tensions surrounding the count.
Opium cultivation in Burma stabilized in 2014 and the area under poppy remained roughly the same as last year, marking the first time since 2006 that cultivation did not expand, a report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said on Monday.
The release of the draft policy, part of a process towards enacting a new National Land Law and “harmonising” existing legislation, was greeted with objections and criticism from farmers’ organisations and ethnic minority groups throughout the country.
Human rights groups are concerned that Myanmar’s first census in 30 years will inflame ethnic tensions, further marginalise ethnic groups and be used as a tool for repression - especially against stateless Rohingya Muslims who are already denied basic human rights.
Ernestien Jensema, Martin Jelsma, Tom Kramer, Tom Blickman
01 June 2014
TNI's indepth examination of the illegal drug market in the Golden Triangle, which has witnessed a doubling of opium production, growing prison populations and repression of small-scale farmers. This report details the failure of ASEAN's 'drug free' strategy and the need for a new approach.
Myanmar is in the process of formulating an investment law and a land use policy that when combined will lay the foundations of development for the country. As it stands, these proposed instruments could have an adverse impact on human rights, and in particular land rights.
Bouncing Back - Relapse in the Golden Triangle, a new in-depth report by the Transnational Institute (TNI) launched in Yangon, Burma/Myanmar, on Monday June 2, highlights the profound changes in the illicit drugs market in the Golden Triangle – Burma, Thailand and Laos – and neighbouring India and China over the past five years.
The 2014 Population and Housing Census is the most significant ethnic and political boundary-making exercise since 1931, however its colonial-era designations and simplifications are likely to raise ethnic tensions at a critical time in the peace process.