What is the role of land in establishing lasting future peace in Myanmar? The country is at a crossroads, and facing rapid land polarization. However, the inauguration of a new government chosen by a landslide in historic elections offers an unprecedented opportunity to change course in a positive direction. An approach that prioritizes poor, vulnerable and marginalized groups especially ethnic nationalities, women, and youth, could lay a foundation for peace.
This assessment is in response to the 6th draft of the NLUP, released in May 2015, following months of public and expert consultations. It outlines some of the key positive and negative points of the new draft.
Jennifer Franco, Pietje Vervest, Tom Kramer, Alberto Alonso-Fradejas, Hannah Twomey
16 February 2015
Myanmar's National Land Use Policy promises to make profound changes to the current economic, social, and political-institutional landscape. This is an important and bold step, but its impact will depend on how it addresses the often “messy” details of actual land based social relations.
Land is a critical issue for Myanmar. Existing land laws are widely recognized as being inadequate to protect security of tenure for farmers, especially those using customary land tenure systems not currently recognized by the law.
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.
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.
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.