A new policy brief has been released emphasizing the need for the Myanmar government to put in place simple, transparent mechanisms to ensure that land and justice is restored to farmers who were dispossessed of their livelihoods without due process or compensation.
According to the Parliamentary Land Investigation Committee, more than 500,000 acres of land in Myanmar was taken over by the military, government, and private companies between the 1980s and early 2000s. Other estimates put this number in the millions of acres. While some of this land was taken in accordance with the 1894 Land Acquisition Act, other land was taken without due process or appropriate compensation. Much of it went into large-scale agriculture projects.
Reports published by the now-defunct Committee suggest that these actors have released or given back over 400,000 acres to the State since 2013. Typically this is because the entity that acquired the land is no longer using it. Portions of the land, however, may still be under cultivation by tenant farmers or others to whom the company leased the land.
The release of land is important progress for which the government should be commended, but it does not mean that the land has been returned to the farmers whose livelihoods were displaced by these land acquisitions. At least 25 per cent of land grab or local land dispute cases handled by the network of paralegals with whom Namati works involves farmers trying to access and restore their rights over land that has been released. The process is complex. Interviews with government officials, researchers, community paralegals, and community members reveal that there is more confusion than clarity on the current mechanisms, official guidance documents, and approaches to release and return land to farmers.
The government of Myanmar recently announced they would resolve all land grab disputes in the next six months. The issues, however, are much too complicated – and much too important – to rush. Namati has produced a policy brief that emphasizes the need for the government to put in place simple, transparent mechanisms to ensure that land and justice is restored to those farmers and communities who were dispossessed of their livelihoods without due process or compensation.
The brief, entitled Streamlining Institutions to Restore Land and Justice to Famers in Myanmar, primarily focuses on the experiences of communities in Ayeyarwaddy Division in reclaiming land that was taken from them and later released to the government. Ayeyarwaddy Division was home to some of the largest instances of farmer dispossession of land under the previous government. Population density and conversion of land to aquaculture makes it host to some of the most difficult land grab cases to resolve. It is also where Namati has the largest number of paralegals, and therefore, extensive experience to draw upon.
Namati and partners assist farmers in Myanmar to claim their land rights through a community paralegal approach. Community paralegals are trained in relevant laws, community education, negotiation, and mediation skills to work with farmers to resolve a variety of land rights issues. Dozens of data points are documented as part of each case resolution process to illustrate how the legal framework functions in practice. It is this casework data that underpins this policy brief. Focus groups and interviews with paralegals, clients, and government officials provide further qualitative context and insights. We draw our recommendations from the lived experiences of communities in Myanmar.
An English version of the brief can be downloaded here, and the Burmese version here.
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Last updated January 30, 2013.
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Welcome to the namati.org website (the “Site”) and the Legal Empowerment Network Forum (the “Forum”) operated by Namati, Inc., a Delaware corporation (“Namati”, “we”, “us” or “our”). We share your concern about the protection of your personal information online.
This Policy describes our privacy practices and sets out your obligations and ours with respect to your use of the Site and the Forum. This Policy applies only to the Site and the Forum and does not necessarily apply to our offline collection of information.
Namati may collect and retain two types of information about Site and Forum visitors: (i) personal information that individual visitors voluntarily provide when interacting on the Site or Forum or on certain other occasions (such as via forms or in emails); and (ii) tracking data, which is data that is automatically collected from every Site and Forum visitor as they use and browse the site.
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Your Information is stored on Digital Ocean servers in New York, USA, and WPengine servers located in Texas, USA. When you provide personal information to us, we request your consent to transfer that personal information to the USA. The USA does not have an adequacy decision from the European Commission, which means that the Commission has not determined that the laws of the USA provide adequate protection for personal information. Although the laws of the USA do not provide legal protection that is equivalent to the EU GDPR, we safeguard your personal information by treating it in accordance with this Policy. We take appropriate steps to protect your privacy and implement reasonable security measures to protect your personal information in storage. We use secure transmission methods to collect personal data through our website. We also enter into contracts with our data processors that require them to treat personal information in a manner that is consistent with this Policy.
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Namati Data Protection Officer
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Withdraw consent at any time where we are relying on consent to process your personal data. However, this will not affect the lawfulness of any processing carried out before you withdraw your consent. If you withdraw your consent, we may not be able to provide certain products or services to you. We will advise you if this is the case at the time you withdraw your consent.
You will not have to pay a fee to access your personal data (or to exercise any of the other rights). However, we may charge a reasonable fee if your request is clearly unfounded, repetitive or excessive. Alternatively, we could refuse to comply with your request in these circumstances.
We may need to request specific information from you to help us confirm your identity and ensure your right to access your personal data (or to exercise any of your other rights). This is a security measure to ensure that personal data is not disclosed to any person who has no right to receive it. We may also contact you to ask you for further information in relation to your request to speed up our response.
We try to respond to all legitimate requests within one month. Occasionally it could take us longer than a month if your request is particularly complex or you have made a number of requests. In this case, we will notify you and keep you updated.
If you live in an EEA Member State, all of which have adopted the EU GDPR and national , you have a right to lodge a complaint with your relevant supervisory authority about this policy and its application. The European Commission has a list of EU national data protection authorities here:
If you live in the United Kingdom, you have a right to lodge a complaint with your relevant supervisory authority, the ICO, about this policy and its application:
The Policy was updated in July 2022 to comply with the General Data Protection Regulations.