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.
A group of sickle-wielding vigilantes made its way through Myanmar’s northern Kachin State in January and February, clearing poppy fields nearly ready to be harvested in a quest to end production of the illicit drug. The mission turned farmers whose livelihoods were being cut down into angry and, at times, armed adversaries.
The steep rise is opium cultivation across Southeast Asia and its associated problems over the past five years is being encouraged by draconian anti-drug policies instituted as part ASEAN's strategy to become "drug-free" by 2015, a non-government organisation says in a new report.
A briefing paper jointly published earlier this month by the Netherlands-based think tank groups has asserted that new ceasefires that have been signed since 2011 have further facilitated land grabbing in conflict-affected areas where large development projects in resource-rich ethnic regions have already taken place.
New data shows that less than one-quarter of the area of large-scale land concessions awarded to businesses since 2010-11 is being used for agriculture. This raises “serious questions” about the government’s land use policies.
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.
Criticism of Myanmar’s census hit fever pitch last week when residents of Rakhine State were not allowed to self-identify according to their wishes, with even the United Nations appearing to turn on the government for its apparent back-flip.
In a statement released last week, the European Commission Directorate General for Trade sought to allay concerns raised by local civil society groups over the bilateral investment treaty currently being finalised by the European Union and central government.
Jennifer C. Franco is a research associate in the Agrarian and Environmental Justice as well as the 'Myanmar in Focus' Programmes of TNI, and an adjunct professor at the College of Humanities and Development Studies (COHD) of the China Agricultural University in Beijing....
The Union minister U Tin Naing Thein called for suggestions on urbanization projects, housing plans for the increased population and plans for homeless persons. He stressed the need to put emphasis on ensuring better socioeconomic status of rural people who make up 70 per cent of the total population and laying down farmland and land use policies.