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Tenure insecurity in Burma (including land grabbing)

Websites/Multiple Documents

Title: Farmlandgrab.org
Description/subject: This website contains mainly news reports about the global rush to buy up or lease farmlands abroad as a strategy to secure basic food supplies or simply for profit. Its purpose is to serve as a resource for those monitoring or researching the issue, particularly social activists, non-government organisations and journalists. The site, known as farmlandgrab.org, is updated daily, with all posts entered according to their original publication date. If you want to track updates in real time, please subscribe to the RSS feed. If you prefer a weekly email, with the titles of all materials posted in the last week, subscribe to the email service. This site was originally set up by GRAIN as a collection of online materials used in the research behind "Seized: The 2008 land grab for food and financial security, a report we issued in October 2008". GRAIN is small international non-profit organisation that works to support small farmers and social movements in their struggles for food sovereignty. We see the current land grab trend as a serious threat to local communities, for reasons outlined in our initial report. farmlandgrab.org is an open project. Although currently maintained by GRAIN, anyone can join in posting materials or developing the site further. Please feel free to upload your own contributions. (Only the lightest editorial oversight will apply. Postings considered off-topic or other are available here.) Or use the ‘comments’ box under any post to speak up. Just be aware that this site is strictly educational and non-commercial. And if you would like to get more directly involved, please send an email to info@farmlandgrab.org. If you find this website useful, please consider helping us cover the costs of the work that goes into it. You can do this by going to GRAIN's website and making a donation, no matter how small. We really appreciate the support, and are glad if people who get something out of it can also help participate in what it takes to produce and improve outputs like farmlandgrab.org. If you would like to help out, please click here. Thanks in advance!
Language: English
Source/publisher: Farmlandgrab.org
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 14 October 2012


Title: Food crisis and the global land grab (Burma)
Description/subject: Several articles on land grabbing in Burma/Myanmar
Language: English
Source/publisher: farmlandgrab.org
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 14 October 2012


Title: Land Confiscation
Description/subject: Link to an OBL sub-section
Language: English
Source/publisher: Online Burma/Myanmar Library
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 12 November 2011


Title: Resources on land grabbing
Description/subject: Link to an OBL sub-section
Language: English
Source/publisher: Online Burma/Myanmar Library
Format/size: html, pdf
Date of entry/update: 12 June 2012


Individual Documents

Title: Rampant Land Confiscation Requires Further Attention and Action from Parliamentary Committee
Date of publication: 12 March 2013
Description/subject: "This past week the parliamentary Farmland Investigation Commission submitted its report on land confiscation to the parliament. The report finds that the military have taken almost 250,000 acres of land from villagers. The commission stated that they had spoken to military leaders about the confiscation, “Vice Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing […] confirmed to me that the army will return seized farmlands that are away from its bases, and they are also thinking about providing farmers with compensation.”..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Partnership
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 27 March 2013


Title: Losing Ground: Land conflicts and collective action in eastern Myanmar
Date of publication: 05 March 2013
Description/subject: "Analysis of KHRG's field information gathered between January 2011 and November 2012 in seven geographic research areas in eastern Myanmar indicates that natural resource extraction and development projects undertaken or facilitated by civil and military State authorities, armed ethnic groups and private investors resulted in land confiscation and forced displacement, and were implemented without consulting, compensating or notifying project-affected communities. Exclusion from decision-making and displacement and barriers to land access present major obstacles to effective local-level response, while current legislation does not provide easily accessible mechanisms to allow their complaints to be heard. Despite this, villagers employ forms of collective action that provide viable avenues to gain representation, compensation and forestall expropriation. Key findings in this report were drawn based upon analysis of four trends, including: Lack of consultation; Land confiscation; Disputed compensation; and Development-induced displacement and resettlement, as well as four collective action strategies, including: Reporting to authorities; Organizing a committee or protest; Negotiation; and Non-compliance, and six consequences on communities, including: Negative impacts on livelihoods; Environmental impacts; Physical security threats; Forced labour and exploitative demands; Denial of access to humanitarian goods and services; and Migration."
Language: English, Burmese/ ျမန္မာဘာသာ
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: html, pdf (2.35MB-report; 6.18-Appendix of raw data; 980K-English briefer; 813K-Burmese briefer)
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2013/LosingGroundKHRG-March2013-FullText.pdf
http://www.khrg.org/khrg2013/LosingGroundKHRGMarch2013-Appendix1-RawDataTestimony.pdf
http://www.khrg.org/khrg2013/khrg1301_Briefer(English).pdf
http://www.khrg.org/khrg2013/khrg1301_Briefer(Myanmar).pdf
Date of entry/update: 07 March 2013


Title: Military Involved in Massive Land Grabs: Parliamentary Report
Date of publication: 05 March 2013
Description/subject: "RANGOON—Less than eight months after a parliamentary commission began investigating land-grabbing in Burma, it has received complaints that the military has forcibly seized about 250,000 acres of farmland from villagers, according to the commission’s report. The Farmland Investigation Commission submitted its first report to Burma’s Union Parliament on Friday, which focused on land seizures by the military. According to the report, the commission received 565 complaints between late July and Jan. 24 that allege that the military had forcibly confiscated 247,077 acres (almost 100,000 hectares) of land. The cases occurred across central Burma and the country’s ethnic regions, although most happened in Irrawaddy Division..."
Author/creator: Htet Naing Zaw, Aye Kyawt Khaing
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 27 March 2013


Title: Ayeyarwady Region farmers establish ‘development’ group
Date of publication: 27 November 2012
Description/subject: "Farmers from Ayeyarwady Region have established an association to strengthen their land use rights and improve technical knowledge. The Farmer Development Association is based on more than 50 village-level groups, ranging in size from five to more than 30 members, formed recently in Bogale, Kyaiklat and Mawlamyinegyun townships..."
Author/creator: Ei Ei Toe Lwin
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Myanmar Times"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 28 November 2012


Title: More protests over Yangon industrial zone
Date of publication: 24 November 2012
Description/subject: "More than 30 farmers from four villages in Hlaing Tharyar township protested outside the Department for Human Settlement and Housing Development (DHSHD) on Bogyoke Aung San Road this week. The farmers had been demonstrating for more than three weeks outside the office of Wah Wah Win Company, on the corner of Anawrahta and Sintohtan streets in downtown Yangon, before shifting their attention to the DHSHD office after getting no response. They are unhappy that the company has allegedly backtracked on a compensation promise made following protests in the middle of the year. “We demonstrated for 23 days [since Wednesday, October 31] in front of the [Wah Wah Win] office. We called on them to negotiate the complicated land issues in Hlaing Tharyar township but they took no notice so we moved to DHSHD in the hope that they could solve the problem. We decided to stay here until they solve the problem for us,” said Ko Kyi Shwin from Kyun Ka Lay village in Hlaing Tharyar township. The land in Kyun Ka Lay, Kyun Gyee, Kan Phyu and Atwin Padan was confiscated by DHSHD more than two decades ago without compensation..."
Author/creator: Ei Ei Toe Lwin
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Myanmar Times"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 28 November 2012


Title: BURMA: Continued use of military-issued instructions denies rights
Date of publication: 05 November 2012
Description/subject: "Much has been made in recent times of the continued use in Burma of antiquated and anti-human rights laws from the country's decades of military rule, as well as from the colonial era. While legislators discuss the amendment or revocation of some laws, and the issue is debated in the public domain, much less is said of the superstructure of military-introduced administrative orders that officials around the country continue to employ in their day-to-day activities, invariably in order to circumscribe or deny human rights. Among these orders are some being used to restrict or prevent access to land of people who rightfully occupy or cultivate the land, as in the case of villagers from some 26 villages affected by the copper mining project in the Letpadaung Mountain range in Sagaing Region, on which the Asian Human Rights Commission has previously spoken (AHRC-PRL-044-2012). The AHRC has obtained copies of a series of orders issued by Zaw Moe Aung, chief administrator of Sarlingyi Township, where villagers have been fighting since mid-2012 against the expansion of copper mining in the region onto their farmlands. The orders, issued under section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, prohibit villagers from access to their farmlands or any form of use of the farmlands, such as for the grazing of cattle. The latest orders expired at the end of October; however, people in the region expect that they will be renewed, or that in any event they will simply be denied access to their land, which is being taken over by an army-owned company and its partner..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 05 November 2012


Title: Myanmar at the HLP Crossroads (final version)
Date of publication: 25 October 2012
Description/subject: Executive Summary: "Few issues are as frequently discussed and politically charged in transitional Myanmar as the state of housing, land and property (HLP) rights. The effectiveness of the laws and policies that address the fundamental and universal human need for a place to live, to raise a family, and to earn a living, is one of the primary criterion by which most people determine the quality of their lives and judge the effectiveness and legitimacy of their Governments. Housing, land and property issues undergird economic relations, and have critical implications for the ability to vote and otherwise exercise political power, for food security and for the ability to access education and health care. As the nation struggles to build greater democracy and seeks growing engagement with the outside world, Myanmar finds itself at an extraordinary juncture; in fact, it finds itself at the HLP Crossroads. The decisions the Government makes about HLP matters during the remainder of 2012 and beyond, in particular the highly controversial issue of potentially transforming State land into privately held assets, will set in place a policy direction that will have a marked impact on the future development of the country and the day-to-day circumstances in which people live. Getting it right will fundamentally and positively transform the nation from the bottom-up and help to create a nation that consciously protects the rights of all and shows the true potential of what was until very recently one of the world's most isolated nations. Getting it wrong, conversely, will delay progress, and more likely than not drag the nation's economy and levels of human rights protections downwards for decades to come. Myanmar faces an unprecedented scale of structural landlessness in rural areas, increasing displacement threats to farmers as a result of growing investment interest by both national and international firms, expanding speculation in land and real estate, and grossly inadequate housing conditions facing significant sections of both the urban and rural population. Legal and other protections afforded by the current legal framework, the new Farmland Law and other newly enacted legislation are wholly inadequate. These conditions are further compounded by a range of additional HLP challenges linked both to the various peace negotiations and armed insurgencies in the east of the country, in particular Kachin State, and the unrest in Rakhine State in the western region. The Government and people of Myanmar are thus struggling with a series of HLP challenges that require immediate, high-level and creative attention in a rights-based and consistent manner. As the country begins what will be a long and arduous journey toward democratization, the rule of law and stable new institutions, laws and procedures, the time is ripe for the Government to work together with all stakeholders active within the HLP sector to develop a unique Myanmar- centric approach to addressing HLP challenges that shows the country's true potential. And it is also time for the Government to begin to take comprehensive measures - some quick and short-term, others more gradual and long-term - to equitably and intelligently address the considerable HLP challenges the country faces, and grounding these firmly within the reform process.Having thoroughly examined the de facto and de jure HLP situation in the country based on numerous interviews, reports and visits, combined with an exhaustive review of the entire HLP legislative framework in place in the country, this report recommends that the following four general measures be commenced by the Government of Myanmar before the end of 2012 to improve the HLP prospects of Myanmar:..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Displacement Solutions
Format/size: pdf (1.4MB-OBL version; 2.55MB-original)
Alternate URLs: http://displacementsolutions.org/files/documents/MyanmarReport.pdf
Date of entry/update: 26 October 2012


Title: BURMA: AHRC expresses solidarity with protesting farmers
Date of publication: 18 October 2012
Description/subject: "The Asian Human Rights Commission on Wednesday sent a message of support to farmers and their allies gathering for a "people's conference" to oppose land confiscation and degradation for a copper mining project. In the message to farmers and others gathering for the inaugural Letpadaung Mountain region people's conference, the AHRC said that the farmers' struggle set "an important example and signals the determination of people [in Burma]… to resist dispossession, repression and the use of violence and illegal tactics by powerful interests". AHRC-PRL-044-2012.jpgThe farmers around the Letpadaung Mountain, which is in Sagaing Region, have since June conducted an increasingly high profile and determined campaign against attempts by an army-owned company and a Chinese partner firm to push them off their farmland. They have posted signs warning "no trespassing" onto agricultural lands, and in October conducted a funeral march to a local cemetery where while praying, they insisted that the spirits of deceased ancestors are also rising up against the new copper mining project -- one of a string of such projects conducted in the region over decades..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 05 November 2012


Title: Land not for sale! Letter of global solidarity against land grabs in Burma/Myanmar
Date of publication: 09 October 2012
Description/subject: "The current reforms in Burma/Myanmar are worsening land grabs in the country. Since the mid-2000s there has been a spike in land grabs, especially leading up to the 2010 national elections. Military and government authorities have been granting large-scale land concessions to well-connected Burmese companies. Farmers’ protests against land grabs have drawn recent public attention to many high profile cases, such as Yuzana’s Hukawng Valley cassava concession, the Dawei SEZ in Tanintharyi Region near the Thai border, Zaygaba’s industrial development zone outside Yangon, and the current Monywa copper mine expansion in Sagaing Division, among many others. By 2011, over 200 Burmese companies had officially been allocated approximately 2 million acres (nearly 810,000 hectares) for privately held agricultural concessions, mainly for agro-industrial crops such as rubber, palm oil, jatropha (physic nut), cassava and sugarcane. Land grabs are now set to accelerate due to new government laws that are specifically designed to encourage foreign investments in land. The two new land laws (the Farmlands Law and the Vacant, Fallow and Virgin Land Law) establish a legal framework to reallocate so-called ‘wastelands’ to domestic and foreign private investors. Moreover, the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Law and Foreign Investment Law that are being finalized, along with ASEAN-ADB regional infrastructure development plans, will provide new incentives and drivers for land grabbing and further compound the dispossession of local communities from their lands and resources. Land conflicts that are now emerging throughout the country will worsen as foreign companies, supported by foreign governments and International Financial Institutions (IFIs), rush in to profit from Burma/Myanmar’s political and economic transition period..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: farmlandgrab.org,. Focus on the Global South et al
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 14 October 2012


Title: Rampant Land Grabbing Continues [in Shan State]
Date of publication: October 2012
Description/subject: * Themes: All the reports in this month’s issue are about various types of Land Grabbing and Confiscation, and a few incidents of other violations, committed by members of the Burmese army and their cronies during mid and late 2012... * Places: Ta-Khi-Laek, Murng-Ton, Murng-Sart, Loi-Lem, Murng-Nai, Lai-Kha, Mawk-Mai, Larng-Khur, Kae-See, Nam-Zarng and Parng-Yarng.....Rampant Land Grabbing Continues: Themes & Places of Violations reported in this issue... Acronyms... Map... Farmlands seized by police in Ta-Khi-Laek... Land grabbed and resold by military in Murng-Ton... Farmlands seized by Burmese Army-Sponsored people’s militia, in Murng-Sart... Villagers’ farmlands seized by ‘Wa’ ceasefire group, in Murng-Ton... Villagers’ lands seized by headman, with the help of land officials, in Loi-Lem... Farmlands seized without knowledge of owners in many townships in Central Shan State... Villagers fined for trying to work their farmlands taken by military in Nam-Zarng... Lands seized for building roads, displacing people, by ceasefire group in Parng-Yarng.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Shan Human Rights Foundation (SHRF)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 27 October 2012


Title: Land Grabbing in Dawei (Myanmar/Burma): a (Inter) National Human Rights Concern
Date of publication: September 2012
Description/subject: "Land grabbing is an urgent concern for people in Tanintharyi Division, and ultimately one of national and international concern, as tens of thousands of people are being displaced for the Dawei Special Economic Zone (SEZ). Dawei lies within Myanmar’s (Burma) southernmost region, the Tanintharyi Division, which borders Mon State to the North, and Thailand to the East, on territory that connects the Malay Peninsula with mainland Asia. This highly populated and prosperous region is significant because of its ecologically-diversity and strategic position along the Andaman coast. Since 2008 the area has been at risk of massive expulsion of people and unprecedented environmental costs, when a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Thai and Myanmar governments, followed by a MoU between Thai investor Italian-Thai Development Corporation (ITD) (see Box 1) and Myanma Port Authority, granted ITD access to the Dawei region to build Asia’s newest regional hub. Thai interest in Dawei is strategic for two reasons. First, the small city happens to be Bangkok’s nearest gateway to the Andaman Sea, and ultimately to India and the Middle East. Second, the project links with a broader regional development plan, strategically plugging into the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) East-West Economic Corridor, a massive transport and trade network connecting Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam; the Southern Economic Corridor (connecting to Cambodia); and the North-South Economic Corridor, with rail links to Kunming, China. If all goes as planned, the Dawei SEZ project, with an estimated infrastructural investment of over USD $50 billion will be Southeast Asia’s largest industrial complex, complete with a deep seaport, industrial estate (including large petrochemical industrial complex, heavy industry zone, oil and gas industry, as well as medium and light industries), and a road/pipeline/rail link that will extend 350 kilometers to Bangkok (via Kanchanaburi). The project even has its own legal framework, the Dawei Special Economic Zone Law, drafted in 2011 to ensure the industrial estate is attractive to potential investors..."
Author/creator: Elizabeth Loewen
Language: English
Source/publisher: Paung Ku and Transnational Institute (TNI)
Format/size: pdf (164K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.tni.org
Date of entry/update: 15 October 2012


Title: Tackling Land Grabbing and Speculation in the New Myanmar
Date of publication: 08 August 2012
Description/subject: "Although Myanmar/Burma has undergone unprecedented political change in recent months, the country is currently grappling with a severe land grabbing and speculation crisis. The DS Director, Scott Leckie, was requested to provide guidance to the Government about how to address these pressing issues, the views of which are contained in a guidance note on land grabbing and speculation which can be viewed here. DS’ landmark study Myanmar at the HLP Crossroads will be released in the coming weeks"
Language: English
Source/publisher: Displacement Solutions
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 14 October 2012


Title: Complaint letter to Burma government about value of agricultural land destroyed by Tavoy highway
Date of publication: 24 July 2012
Description/subject: "The complaint letter below, signed by 25 local community members, was written in July 2011 and raises villagers' concerns related to the construction of the Kanchanaburi – Tavoy [Dawei] highway linking Thailand and the Tavoy deep sea port. Villagers described concerns that the highway would bisect agricultural land and destroy crops under cultivation worth 3,280,500 kyat (US $3,657). In response to these concerns, local community members formed a group called the 'Village and Public Sustainable Development' to represent villagers' concerns and request compensation."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (96K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2012/khrg12b69.html
Date of entry/update: 12 August 2012


Title: Mergui/Tavoy Interview: Saw K---, April 2012
Date of publication: 18 July 2012
Description/subject: "This report contains the full transcript of an interview conducted during April 2012 in Ler Mu Lah Township, Mergui/Tavoy District by a community member trained by KHRG to monitor human rights conditions. The community member interviewed 40-year-old G--- village head, Saw K---, who described abusive practices perpetrated by the Tatmadaw in his village throughout the previous four year period, including forced labour, arbitrary taxation in the form of both goods and money, and obstructions to humanitarian relief, specifically medical care availability and education support. Saw K--- also discussed development projects and land confiscation that has occurred in the area, including one oil palm company that came to deforest 700 acres of land next to G--- village in order to plant oil palm trees, as well as the arrival of a Malaysian logging company, neither of which provided any compensation to villagers for the land that was confiscated. However, the Malaysian logging company did provide enough wood, iron nails and roofing material for one school in the village, and promised the villagers that it would provide additional support later. Saw K--- raised other concerns regarding the food security, health care and difficulties with providing education for children in the village. In order to address these issues, Saw K--- explained that villagers have met with the Ler Mu Lah Township leaders to solve land confiscation problems, but some G--- villagers have had to give up their land, including a full nursery of betel nut plantations, based on the company’s claim that the plantations were illegally maintained."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (136K), html
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2012/khrg12b64.html
Date of entry/update: 12 August 2012


Title: GUIDANCE NOTE ON DEVELOPING POLICY OPTIONS FOR ADDRESSING LAND GRABBING AND SPECULATION IN MYANMAR JULY 2012
Date of publication: July 2012
Description/subject: "Land grabbing and speculation, which can both manifest in a multitude of forms, are unfortunate, often-inter-twined, yet common practices in countries undergoing structural political transition. If unchecked, unregulated, or unintentionally encouraged by the very governments that replace formerly authoritarian regimes, these two land realities can serve to undermine democratic reforms, entrench economic and political privilege and seriously harm the human rights prospects of those affected, in particular internationally recognised housing, land and property (HLP) rights. Land grabbing and speculation can increase inequality, harm economic prospects and create conditions where social tensions and even violence may become inevitable. Unless law and policy explicitly address the negative consequences of these practices, land grabbing and speculation can erode citizen confidence in government, reduce incomes and livelihoods and increase poverty and broad declines in a range of vital social indicators. And yet, there is nothing inevitable or inherent about the inequitable acquisition and control of ever-larger quantities of land in fewer and fewer hands. Indeed, governments wishing to protect the HLP rights of rural and urban dwellers and properly regulate the land acquisition and transfer process can succeed in reducing the prevalence of both land grabbing and speculation, improve the human rights prospects of current landholders and ultimately strengthen both democratic processes and macro-economic perspectives. It is clear that these issues are affecting Myanmar at the moment, and that it is up to the Government to take steps to address these problems in a fair, effective and equitable manner Twelve possible steps that the Government may wish to consider, include:..."
Author/creator: Displacement Solutions
Source/publisher: Scott Leckie
Format/size: pdf (270K)
Date of entry/update: 14 October 2012


Title: Farmers seek right to use land
Date of publication: 17 June 2012
Description/subject: "FARMERS from Alwan Sut village in Yangon Region’s Thanlyin township are seeking the right to continue to farm land they were forced to sell 15 years ago for a dormant building project..."
Author/creator: Ei Ei Toe Lwin
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Myanmar Times"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 14 June 2012


Title: Farmland confiscated for Kyaukpyu Airport project
Date of publication: 10 June 2012
Description/subject: "MORE than 100 households and 20 acres of farmland in Kyaukpyu township, Rakhine State, have been forced to make way for an airport expansion project with only partial compensation, a Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) official said last week..."
Author/creator: Aye Sapay Phyu
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Myanmar Times"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 14 June 2012


Title: Films to probe media law, land grabs
Date of publication: 10 June 2012
Description/subject: MOVIE director Wine is working on two short documentary films about current events in Myanmar, which he says he will screen at cinemas free of charge once they are completed. Wine told The Myanmar Times that he has been working on the documentaries — which explore media law and land confiscations, respectively — since January.
Author/creator: Nyein Ei Ei Htwe
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Myanmar Times"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 14 June 2012


Title: Minister urges Kayin farmers to secure land from agribusinesses Share
Date of publication: 10 June 2012
Description/subject: "THE Kayin State Minister for Agriculture and Irrigation has urged farmers to prepare land ownership documentation in order to avoid land disputes with agribusinesses, a growing issue in Myanmar. “The parliaments approved the farmland law and vacant land law so now you can sell or mortgage … the lands you have been living on. So you should start preparing to secure legal ownership through the proper channels. We have already informed the head of the Survey Department. There needs to be a survey of properties in each township and village. If not, there could possibly be land disputes in the future,” the minister, U Christopher, said at a May 22-24 meeting in Thandaunggyi township, Kayin State, to explain the outcome of peace talks between the government and Karen National Union..."
Author/creator: Soe Than Lynn
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Myanmar Times"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 10 June 2012


Title: MYANMAR: Myanmar at risk of land-grabbing epidemic
Date of publication: 06 June 2012
Description/subject: "In a written statement during its September 2011 session, the Asian Legal Resource Centre alerted the Human Rights Council to the dangers posed to the rights of people in Myanmar by the convergence of military, business and administrative interests in new projects aimed at displacing cultivators and residents from their farms and homes. At that time, the Centre wrote that whereas seizure of land has long been practiced in Myanmar, in recent years its dynamics have changed, from direct seizure by army units and government departments, to seizure by army-owned companies, joint ventures and other economically and politically powerful operations with connections to the military..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC)
Format/size: pdf (101K)
Date of entry/update: 06 June 2012


Title: Papun Situation Update: Dweh Loh Township, January to March 2012
Date of publication: 24 May 2012
Description/subject: "This report includes a situation update submitted to KHRG in April 2012 by a community member describing events occurring in Papun District, in the period between January and March 2012. It provides information on land confiscation by Border Guard Battalion #1013, which has appropriated villagers’ communal grazing land between D--- and M--- villages for the construction of barracks for housing soldiers' families. Related to this project is the planned construction of a dam on the Noh Paw Htee River south of D--- village, which is expected to result in the subsequent flooding of 150 acres of D--- villagers’ farmland, valued at US $91,687. Villagers from K’Ter Tee, Htee Th’Bluh Hta, and Th’Buh Hta village tracts have also reported facing demands for materials used for making thatch shingles, for which villagers receive either minimal or no payment. Updated information concerning other military activity is also provided, specifically on troop augmentation, with LID #22, and IB #8 and #96 reported to have joined Border Guard Battalion #1013 by establishing bases at K’Ter Tee, as well as reports of increased transportation of rations, weapons and troops to camps in the border regions. Details are also provided on new restrictions introduced since the January 2012 ceasefire agreement on the movement of Tatmadaw units; similar restrictions have been documented in Toungoo District in a report published by KHRG in May 2012, "Toungoo Situation Update: Tantabin Township, January to March 2012." Information is also given on a recent Tatmadaw directive, which stipulates that soldiers and villagers living near to military camps must inform any KNU officials they encounter that they are welcome to meet with Tatmadaw commanders or officers."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (295K), html
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2012/khrg12b45.html
Date of entry/update: 13 June 2012


Title: Land Grabs Intensify as Burma ‘Reform’ Races Ahead of Law
Date of publication: 15 May 2012
Description/subject: "While foreign governments heap praise on the Burmese government’s liberal tilt, land theft appears to be increasing as state agencies and powerfully placed domestic firms position themselves to welcome foreign investment. Farmers across the country are being muscled out of their fields with little hope of appeal to the law. This is because despite all the trumpeting in the West about President Thein Sein’s “reforms,” the rule of law in Burma is closer to 12th Century Europe than the 21st Century. In medieval Europe, land ownership was determined by sharp swords and private armies. In present-day Burma, powerful businesses linked to the army do much the same. Land confiscation is being reported near the south coast, in the Rangoon region, around Mandalay and in northern areas close to the border with China. Farmers and their families are being forcibly moved for major projects, such as the oil and gas pipelines being built through the country from the Bay of Bengal to the Chinese border, and for smaller industrial projects by firms with long crony links to the military. Even where the local authorities have sided with expelled farmers, big businesses feel confident enough to ignore them. Just last week, The Irrawaddy reported how industrial firm Zay Kabar has continued to bulldoze snatched land despite a stop order issued by the administrative office of the Rangoon area’s Mingaladon Township..."
Author/creator: William Boot
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 16 May 2012


Title: Company Destroys Land Despite Order to Stop
Date of publication: 11 May 2012
Description/subject: "Zay Kabar, a Burmese company that has been accused of illegally confiscating more than 800 acres of land from farmers in Shwenanthar, a village in Rangoon’s Mingaladon Township, has continued clearing the land despite being told to stop by local authorities. After embankments on the farmland were leveled last week, around 50 farmers began rebuilding them in preparation for the start of the planting season, prompting officials from the Housing Department and the local administrative office to order both sides to desist. However, the company has ignored the order and resumed its work on the land, according to the farmers..."
Author/creator: Nyein Nyein
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 13 May 2012


Title: Burma’s Frontier Appeal Lures Shadowy Oil Firms
Date of publication: 09 May 2012
Description/subject: While the major non-American Western oil companies adopt and wait-and-see policy and US firms remain barred by Washington’s sanctions, shadowy oil enterprises are gaining footholds in Burma. Among firms which have recently won licenses to explore for oil and gas are little-known businesses based in Panama, Nigeria and Azerbaijan—countries where corporate accountability can be murky. Not only does the bidding process remain opaque, the pedigree of some of the participants is too..."
Author/creator: William Boot
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 20 May 2012


Title: Grab for white gold - platinum mining in Eastern Shan State (Burmese)
Date of publication: 08 May 2012
Description/subject: အစီရင္ခံစာအက်ဥ္းခ်ဳပ္ ရွမ္းျပည္နယ္ အေရွ႔ပိုင္း တာခ်ီလိတ္ၿမိဳ ၏႔ ေျမာက္ဖက္ ေတာင္တန္းေဒမ်ားတြင္ ေဒသခံမ်ားကို ထိခိုကေ္ စသည့္ ေရႊျဖဴတူးေဖာ္ျခင္းလုပ္ငန္းကို ၂၀၀၇ခုႏွစ္မွ စတင္ခဲ့ကာ ယင္းေၾကာင့္ လားဟူ၊ အာခါႏွင့္ ရွမ္းရြာ ၈ရြာမွာ လူေပါင္း ၂၀၀၀ေက်ာ္ကို ထိခိုက္ေစခဲ့သည္။ ေရႊျဖဴတူးေဖာ္မႈကို ျမန္မာကုမၸဏီမ်ားက ေဆာင္ရြက္ေနၿပီး တရုတ္ႏွင့္ ထုိင္းႏိုင္ငံသို႔ တင္ပို႔လွ်က္ရိွသည္။ တာခ်လီ တိ ၿ္မဳိ ႔ ေျမာကဖ္ က ္ ၁၃ကလီ မို တီ ာအကြာရ ွိအားရဲေခၚ အာခါရြာအနီးတငြ ္ကမု ဏၸ ၅ီ ခကု လပု င္ န္း လပု က္ ငို လ္ ်ွကရ္ သွိ ည။္ ထကို မု ဏၸ မီ ်ားက ရြာသားမ်ားပငို ဆ္ ငို သ္ ည ့္ပစညၥ ္းမ်ားႏငွ ့္ ေျမယာမ်ားက ိုအတင္းအက်ပဖ္ အိ ားေပး၍ ေစ်းႏမိွ ္ေရာင္းခ်ေစသကသဲ့ ႔ ို ေျမယာအခ်ိဳ က႔ ို ေလွ်ာ္ေၾကးမေပးဘဲ အဓမၼသိမး္ ယူ ခဲ့ၾကသည္။ ေထာင္ေပါင္းမ်ားစြာေသာ စိုက္ပိ်ဳးေျမဧကမ်ားႏွင့္ သစ္ေတာမ်ားကို ကုမၸဏီက သိမ္းယူေနၿပီး အခ်ိဳ႔ေသာေျမယာမ်ားသည္ သတၱဳတြင္းမွ အညစ္အေၾကးမ်ားစြန္႔ပစ္ေသာေၾကာင့္ ပ်ကဆ္ ီးလ်ွကရ္ သွိ ည။္ ရြာသရူ ြာသားမ်ား အသုံးျပဳသည ့္အေ၀းေျပးလမ္းသ ႔ိုသြားေရာကရ္ ာလမ္းမွာလည္း သတဳၱတူးေဖာသ္ ည ့္ ကုန္တင္ကားမ်ား၊ စက္ယႏၱယားႀကီးမ်ား ျဖတ္သန္းသြားျခင္းေၾကာင့္ ပ်က္ဆီးၾကရသည္။ သတဳၱတူးေဖာျ္ခင္းေၾကာင ့္ ရြာသားမ်ား အဓကိ အသုံးျပဳေနေသာ ေရအရင္းအျမစ ္ညစည္ မ္းလ်ွကရ္ ၿွိပီး ေရစီးေၾကာင္းမ်ားလည္း ေျပာင္းလဲကုန္သည္။ ယင္းအေျခအေနမ်ားက ေဒသခံအမ်ိဳးသမီးမ်ားကို ႀကီးမားေသာ အခက္အခဲမ်ားျဖစ္ေပၚေစသည္။ အေၾကာင္းမွာ ေရရရိွရန္အတြက္ အလြန္ေ၀းကြာေသာခရီးကို ေျခလ်င္ လမ္းေလွ်ာက္သြားရေသာေၾကာင့္ ျဖစ္သည္။ ထို႔အတူ သတၱဳတူးေဖာ္ရာလုပ္ငန္းသို႔ အမ်ိဳးသားေရႊ႔ေျပာင္းအလုပ္သမားမ်ား အစုလုိက္အၿပံဳလုိက္ ေရာက္ရိွ လာျခင္းေၾကာင့္ ထိုေနရာတ၀ိုက္တြင္ေနထိုင္သည့္ အမ်ိဳးသမီးမ်ား၏ လံုၿခံဳေရးမွာ အႏၱရာယ္ က်ေရာက္ လွ်က္ရိွသည္။ စိုက္ခင္းသို႔ သြားသည့္အမ်ိဳးသမီးမ်ားမွာ လိင္ပိုင္းဆုိင္ရာ ထိပါးေႏွာင့္ယွက္မႈမ်ားကို ႀကံဳေတြ႔ ေနရသည္။ အမ်ိဳးသမီးငယ္မ်ားမွာ သတၱဳတြင္းအလုပ္သမားမ်ား၏ မယားငယ္မ်ားအျဖစ္ သိမ္းယူခံရသကဲ့သို႔ အခ်ိဳ႔ အမ်ိဳးသမီးငယ္မ်ားမွာ ျပည္႔တန္ဆာမ်ား ျဖစ္ၾကရသည္။ သတၱဳတြင္း၀န္ထမ္းမ်ားက ေဒသခံ အမ်ိဳးသမီးငယ္မ်ားကို လူကုန္ကူးရာတြင္ ပါ၀င္ပတ္သက္ေနၾကသည္။ ရြာသ၊ူ ရြာသားမ်ား၏ အခငြ အ့္ ေရးက ိုကာကြယ္ေပးသည ့္ ဥပေဒစိုးမိုးမလႈ ည္း ကင္းမဲ့ေနသည။္ ျမနမ္ ာစစတ္ ပမ္ ွအရာရမွိ ်ားအား လာဘ္ထုိးျခင္းအားျဖင့္ သတၱဳတူးေဖာ္သည့္ ကုမၸဏီမ်ားသည္ လူမႈေရးႏွင့္ သဘာ၀ပတ္၀န္းက်င္ဆုိင္ရာ စံသတ္မွတ္ခ်က္မ်ားကို လိုက္နာရန္မလိုဘဲ လုပ္ငန္းလုပ္ကိုင္ႏိုင္ၾကသည္။ ထုိ႔ေၾကာင့္ သတၱဳတူးေဖာ္သည့္ကုမၸဏီမ်ားႏွင့္ အိမ္နီးခ်င္းႏိုင္ငံမွ ေရႊျဖဴ၀ယ္ယူသူတုိ႔သည္ လူမႈေရးႏွင့္ သဘာ၀ပတ္၀န္းက်င္ ထိန္းသိမ္းေရးဆုိင္ရာ တာ၀န္မ်ားကို ေရွာင္ရွားျခင္းျဖင့္ သတၱဳတူးေဖာ္ျခင္း လုပ္ငန္းမွ အျမတ္ေငြ မ်ားႏိုင္သမွ် မ်ားမ်ားရေအာင္ ေဆာင္ရြက္ေနၾကသည္။ ထုိ႔ေၾကာင့္ လားဟူ အမ်ိဳးသမီးအဖဲြ႔က ေဒသတြင္းဖံြ႔ၿဖိဳးတုိးတက္မႈကို မျဖစ္ေစဘဲ ဆင္းရဲမဲြေတမႈႏွင့္ သဘာ၀ပတ္၀န္းက်င္ ပ်က္ဆီးမႈကိုသာျဖစ္ေစသည့္ သတၱဳတူးေဖာ္ျခင္းလုပ္ငန္းကို ခ်က္ခ်င္း ရပ္တန္႔ရန္ ျမန္မာအစိုးရအား ေတာင္းဆုိသည္။
Language: Burmese/ ျမန္မာဘာသာ
Source/publisher: Lahu Women's Organization
Format/size: pdf (2.3MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs13/Grab_for_White_Gold-PR(bu).pdf (Press Release, Burmese)
http://www.lahuwomen.org
http://lahuwomen.org/press-release/lahu-women-demand-end-to-destructive-platinum-mining-in-burmas-s...
Date of entry/update: 14 May 2012


Title: Grab for white gold - platinum mining in Eastern Shan State (English)
Date of publication: 08 May 2012
Description/subject: Burmese and Chinese companies are pushing aside Akha, Lahu and Shan villagers in eastern Shan State in a grab for platinum (“white gold” in Burmese). Women are facing particular hardship due to the loss of livelihood and the contamination of water sources. The Lahu Women Organization is calling for an immediate halt to these damaging mining operations....Summary Since 2007, destructive platinum mining has been taking place in the hills north of Tachilek, eastern Shan State, impacting about 2,000 people from eight Lahu, Akha and Shan villages. The platinum is being extracted by Burmese mining companies and exported to China and Thailand. Five companies are currently operating around the Akha village of Ah Yeh, 13 kilometers north of Tachilek. They have forced villagers to sell property and land at cheap prices, and confiscated other lands without compensation. Hundreds of acres of farms and forestland have been seized, or destroyed by dumping of mining waste. The villagers’ access road to the main highway has been ruined by the passage of heavy mining trucks and machinery. The main water source for local villagers has been diverted and contaminated by the mining, causing tremendous hardship for local women, who must now walk long distances to do their washing. Women are also facing increased security risks from the influx of migrant male miners into the area. There is regular sexual harassment of women going to their fields. Young women are being taken as minor wives by the miners; some are also becoming sex workers. Mining staff have also been involved in trafficking of local women. There is no rule of law protecting the rights of the local villagers. By paying off the local Burmese military, mining companies are able to carry out operations without adhering to any social or environmental standards. The companies and platinum buyers in neighbouring countries are therefore maximizing profits by avoiding responsibility for the social and environmental costs of the mines. The Lahu Women’s Organisation therefore calls on the Burmese government to put an immediate stop to these destructive mining operations, which are not contributing to local development, but are causing poverty and environmental degradation..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Lahu Women's Organization
Format/size: pdf (1.8MB)
Alternate URLs: http://lahuwomen.org/press-release/lahu-women-demand-end-to-destructive-platinum-mining-in-burmas-s...
http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs13/Grab_for_White_Gold-PR(th).pdf (Pres Release, Thai)
http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs13/Grab_for_White_Gold-PR(ch).pdf (Press Release, Chinese)
http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs13/Grab_for_White_Gold-PR(bu).pdf (Press Release, Burmese)
http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs13/Grab_for_White_Gold(lahu).pdf (full text, Lahu)
http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs13/Grab_for_White_Gold(bu)-op75mr-red.pdf (full text, Burmese)
Date of entry/update: 14 May 2012


Title: Grab for white gold - platinum mining in Eastern Shan State (Lahu)
Date of publication: 08 May 2012
Description/subject: Summary: Since 2007, destructive platinum mining has been taking place in the hills north of Tachilek, eastern Shan State, impacting about 2,000 people from eight Lahu, Akha and Shan villages. The platinum is being extracted by Burmese mining companies and exported to China and Thailand. Five companies are currently operating around the Akha village of Ah Yeh, 13 kilometers north of Tachilek. They have forced villagers to sell property and land at cheap prices, and confiscated other lands without compensation. Hundreds of acres of farms and forestland have been seized, or destroyed by dumping of mining waste. The villagers’ access road to the main highway has been ruined by the passage of heavy mining trucks and machinery. The main water source for local villagers has been diverted and contaminated by the mining, causing tremendous hardship for local women, who must now walk long distances to do their washing. Women are also facing increased security risks from the influx of migrant male miners into the area. There is regular sexual harassment of women going to their fields. Young women are being taken as minor wives by the miners; some are also becoming sex workers. Mining staff have also been involved in trafficking of local women. There is no rule of law protecting the rights of the local villagers. By paying off the local Burmese military, mining companies are able to carry out operations without adhering to any social or environmental standards. The companies and platinum buyers in neighbouring countries are therefore maximizing profits by avoiding responsibility for the social and environmental costs of the mines. The Lahu Women’s Organisation therefore calls on the Burmese government to put an immediate stop to these destructive mining operations, which are not contributing to local development, but are causing poverty and environmental degradation.
Language: Lahu
Source/publisher: Lahu Women's Organization
Format/size: pdf (1.6MB)
Alternate URLs: http://lahuwomen.org/press-release/lahu-women-demand-end-to-destructive-platinum-mining-in-burmas-shan-state'>http://lahuwomen.org/press-release/lahu-women-demand-end-to-destructive-platinum-mining-in-burmas-s...
http://lahuwomen.org
Date of entry/update: 14 May 2012


Title: Platinum Mines Seize 200 Acres of Farmland
Date of publication: 08 May 2012
Description/subject: "Around 200 acres of land has been confiscated by platinum mining companies in Tachilek Township, eastern Shan State, despite nascent democratic reforms by the Burmese government, according to report released by the Lahu Women’s Organization (LWO). "Grab For White Gold" has been produced by the Thailand-based LWO and two other local land activists and was presented at a press conference in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, on Tuesday. The two activists told reporters that eight villages—comprising a total of 393 households and 2,000 people—have been impacted by the platinum mining companies. There are also reports of sexual harassment, abductions and girls being cheated into marriage as a consequence. Ore produced in the region is sold to China at around US $3,000 per ton with the LWO accusing Burmese companies such Sai Laung Hein, U Myint Aung, Hein Lin San and Wunna Thein Than of running the mining operations. The disputed farmland has belonged to ethnic people—including Shan, Akha and Lahu communities—for generations. The companies force them to sell their land at around half the true value, or simply confiscate it without compensation despite protests from the rightful owners..."
Author/creator: Lawi Weng
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 13 May 2012


Title: Massive Land Confiscation for Copper Mine
Date of publication: 04 May 2012
Description/subject: "Over 7,800 acres of farmland in Salingyi Township, Sagaing Division, has been confiscated for a copper mine project with landowners forced out of their villages, according to local sources. A number of concerned residents told The Irrawaddy that grabbed lands belong to people in Salingyi’s Hse Te, Zee Daw, Wet Hmay and Kan Taw villages and authorities ordered residents to leave the area earlier this year. Most of the villagers do not want to relocate but some have already left, they claim. Farmers also said that they were only given a small amount of compensation for their property as, according to company officials and local authorities, their lands are actually owned by the state and the confiscation was carried out by presidential order..."
Author/creator: Khin Oo Thar
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 05 May 2012


Title: Why peace and land security is key to Burma's democratic future - Interview with Tom Kramer
Date of publication: May 2012
Description/subject: Analysis of the social costs of large-scale Chinese-supported rubber farms in northern Burma suggests that the future for ordinary citizens will be affected as much by the country's chosen economic path as the political reforms underway.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Transnational Institute (TNI)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 09 September 2012


Title: Development drive sees ethnic groups displaced by land grabs
Date of publication: 22 April 2012
Description/subject: As Myanmar’s opening economy is celebrated, rights activists warn it will see people who have lived in areas for generations forced out under ‘legal’ means that merely cover mercenary greed.
Author/creator: Phil Thornton
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Bangkok Post" from "The Lancet" 5 April and "Science" 6 April
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 13 September 2012


Title: Dooplaya Situation Update: August to October 2011
Date of publication: 16 March 2012
Description/subject: "This report includes a situation update submitted to KHRG in January 2011 by a villager describing events occurring in Dooplaya District, during the period between August and October, 2011. The villager who wrote this report provides information concerning increasing military activity in Kyone Doh Township, including the confiscation of 600 acres of farmland for building a camp in Da Lee Kyo Waing town by Border Guard Battalion #1021, and the construction of new military camps, one by LIB #208 in Htee Poo Than village and another by the KPF near to Htee Poo Than village. The villager who wrote this report also noted demands from the Burmese Army that local villagers cover half of the cost of the construction of two bridges in Kyone Doh Township, as well as ongoing taxation demands from various armed groups, including the KNU, SPDC, Border Guard, DKBA, KPF, KPC and a distinct branch of the KPC known as Kaung Baung Hpyoo, and expressed serious concerns about the intended use of villagers to provide unpaid labour on infrastructure projects that will be implemented by civilian and military officials, as well as the severe degradation of forest and agricultural land due to an expansion of commercial rubber plantations..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (133K), html
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2012/khrg12b28.html
Date of entry/update: 12 April 2012


Title: Expert cautions on ‘land grab’ model
Date of publication: 04 March 2012
Description/subject: "A VISITING land expert has warned against falling for the “dominant model” of land grabbing, which sees small-scale farmers replaced by agri-businesses that are in many cases less productive. Mr Robin Palmer, who has worked on land issues for more than 35 years as both an academic and for British NGO Oxfam, said last week that population pressures and the increasing consumption of meat and dairy products in developing countries were often used to justify plantation farming, with peasant farmers and traditional pastoralists dismissed as “romantic nonsense”. “In the context of global land grabbing … this is the dominant model,” he told The Myanmar Times in Yangon on February 21. “It’s curious because land has been a source of conflict in many places yet despite that governments are giving it away.” Aside from the social consequences, Mr Palmer, who has worked in Africa, Asia and Latin America, said there was also little evidence that plantation farms were more efficient or productive than smallholdings. This was reinforced at the International Conference on Global Land Grabbing at the University of Sussex’s Institute of Development Studies in April 2011, which featured more than 100 papers on land issues..."
Author/creator: Expert cautions on ‘land grab’ model
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Myanmar Times"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 27 February 2012


Title: Land Confiscation in Shan State -- Special issue of the Shan Human Rights Foundation Monthly Report
Date of publication: March 2012
Description/subject: Commentary: Land Confiscation; Situation of land confiscation in Nam-Zarng and Kun-Hing; Land confiscated, villagers house destroyed, in Nam-Zarng; Cultivated land confiscated in Nam-Zarng; Farmlands and cemetery ground confiscated in Nam-Zarng; Lands confiscated, forced labour used, to build new military bases and an airstrip, in Kun-Hing; Confiscation of land with regard to mining projects; Land Confiscation due to coal mining concession in Murng-Sart; Land grabbing by businessmen in cooperation with military authorities and their cronies Lands forcibly taken, village forced to move, in Kaeng-Tung; Lands forcibly taken and sold, in Kaeng-Tung; Land forcibly taken and sold in Murng-Ton; Designation of cultivated lands as military property and levy; Land designated miltary areas, taxes levied, in Kun-Hing
Source/publisher: Shan Human Rights Foundation (March 2012)
Format/size: English
Date of entry/update: 05 May 2012


Title: ‘Zay Kabar’ Khin Shwe Faces Lawsuit
Date of publication: 27 February 2012
Description/subject: "Khin Shwe, the chairman of Zay Kabar Company and a member of Burma’s Lower House, will face a lawsuit filed by farmers from Rangoon’s Mingaladon Township whose farmland he allegedly confiscated. The farmers were previously allowed to continue growing paddy and other crops even after their lands were seized, but they are no longer permitted to do so. Many have been threatened and told to vacate the land, that’s why they are preparing to sue him, said Kyaw Sein, a farmer who lost 50 acres of land..."
Author/creator: Khin Oo Thar
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 05 May 2012


Title: Burma Farmers Fear Land Act
Date of publication: 03 February 2012
Description/subject: "...Pho Phyu estimates that since the new government took office in March last year some 10,000 acres of farmland have been seized in Rangoon and Irrawaddy divisions alone. “Under the new law, millions of acres that have been seized by big companies will legally belong to them, and not the farmers,” says Pho Phyu. Amid a tide of optimism, this is a dark area which some, such as Pho Phyu, believe is not only not progressing but could get worse. It covers the 70 percent of Burma's work force and their families who are small-scale farmers. A majority who will not be affected by the easing of Internet restrictions, or will probably never know that the BBC are now allowed to visit their country. This as part of the government's reforms to change the economy to a market-orientated system, including the agriculture sector. Former government adviser and economist Khin Maung Nyo corroborates: “We need to change agriculture into a business.” ..."
Author/creator: Josehp Allchin
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 31 March 2012


Title: Dooplaya Interview: Saw Ca---, September 2011
Date of publication: 03 February 2012
Description/subject: "This report contains the full transcript of an interview conducted by a KHRG researcher in September 2011. The villager interviewed Saw Ca---, a 45-year-old rubber, betelnut and durian plantation owner from Kawkareik Township, Dooplaya District, who described the survey of at least 167 acres of productive and established agricultural land belonging to 26 villagers for the expansion of a Tatmadaw camp, transport infrastructure, and the construction of houses for Tatmadaw soldiers' families. This incident was detailed in the previously-published report, "Land confiscation threatens villagers' livelihoods in Dooplaya District;" as of the beginning of February 2012, a KHRG researcher familiar with the local situation confirmed that the land had not yet been confiscated and that surveys of that land were no longer ongoing. In this interview, Saw Ca--- described the planting of landmines in civilian areas by government and non-state armed groups, and described one incident in which a villager was injured by a landmine during the month before this interview, resulting in the subsequent amputation of part of his leg; Saw Ca--- said that KNLA soldiers had previously informed villagers they had planted landmines in the place where the villager was injured. Saw Ca--- also described an incident in which villagers were forced to wear Tatmadaw uniforms while accompanying troops on active duty, as well as the forced recruitment of villagers by non-state armed groups. Saw Ca--- noted that villagers respond to such abuses and threats to their livelihoods in a variety of ways, including deliberately avoiding attending meetings with Tatmadaw commanders at which they suspect they will be forced to sign over their land."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (360K), html
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2012/khrg12b11.html
Date of entry/update: 07 February 2012


Title: Financing Dispossession - China’s Opium Substitution Programme in Northern Burma
Date of publication: February 2012
Description/subject: "Northern Burma’s borderlands have undergone dramatic changes in the last two decades. Three main and interconnected developments are simultaneously taking place in Shan State and Kachin State: (1) the increase in opium cultivation in Burma since 2006 after a decade of steady decline; (2) the increase at about the same time in Chinese agricultural investments in northern Burma under China’s opium substitution programme, especially in rubber; and (3) the related increase in dispossession of local communities’ land and livelihoods in Burma’s northern borderlands. The vast majority of the opium and heroin on the Chinese market originates from northern Burma. Apart from attempting to address domestic consumption problems, the Chinese government also has created a poppy substitution development programme, and has been actively promoting Chinese companies to take part, offering subsidies, tax waivers, and import quotas for Chinese companies. The main benefits of these programmes do not go to (ex-)poppy growing communities, but to Chinese businessmen and local authorities, and have further marginalised these communities. Serious concerns arise regarding the long-term economic benefits and costs of agricultural development— mostly rubber—for poor upland villagers. Economic benefits derived from rubber development are very limited. Without access to capital and land to invest in rubber concessions, upland farmers practicing swidden cultivation (many of whom are (ex-) poppy growers) are left with few alternatives but to try to get work as wage labourers on the agricultural concessions. Land tenure and other related resource management issues are vital ingredients for local communities to build licit and sustainable livelihoods. Investment-induced land dispossession has wide implications for drug production and trade, as well as border stability. Investments related to opium substitution should be carried out in a more sustainable, transparent, accountable and equitable fashion. Customary land rights and institutions should be respected. Chinese investors should use a smallholder plantation model instead of confiscating farmers land as a concession. Labourers from the local population should be hired rather than outside migrants in order to funnel economic benefits into nearby communities. China’s opium crop substitution programme has very little to do with providing mechanisms to decrease reliance on poppy cultivation or provide alternative livelihoods for ex-poppy growers. Chinese authorities need to reconsider their regional development strategies of implementation in order to avoid further border conflict and growing antagonism from Burmese society. Financing dispossession is not development."
Author/creator: Tom Kramer & Kevin Woods
Language: English
Source/publisher: Transnational Institute (TNI)
Format/size: pdf (2.7MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.tni.org/sites/www.tni.org/files/download/tni-financingdispossesion-web.pdf
Date of entry/update: 23 February 2012


Title: Forced expropriations of farmlands and partial victories (Burmese)/ လယ္ယာေျမ အဓမၼသိမ္းယူမႈမ်ားႏွင့္ ေအာင္ပြဲ အပိုင္းအစမ်ား
Date of publication: 10 January 2012
Description/subject: BURMA: Farmers' land fight celebrated in new booklet... (Hong Kong, January 10, 2012) A Burma-based rights group has released a new publication documenting and recounting the courageous fight against land expropriation, intimidation and false prosecution of a group of rural villagers. The 38-page Burmese language booklet, "Forced expropriations of farmlands and partial victories", written and published by the Farmers' Rights Defenders Network, retells the story of the villagers of Sissayan, in Magway, part of the country's dry central zone, who have been struggling against the attempts of army-backed companies to take over their land for use by factories that will produce toxic substances. The Asian Human Rights Commission issued an urgent appeal in April about an attack and false prosecution of a group of the farmers leading the fight against the army-backed companies in Sissayan: http://www.humanrights.asia/news/urgent-appeals/AHRC-UAC-073-2011 Although a court convicted the farmers, the village community rallied around them, as told and illustrated through photographs in the new booklet, and on appeal their sentences were reduced to the time already served. အမွာစာ... လယ္ယာေျမအဓမၼသိမ္းယူမႈမ်ားႏွင့္ေအာင္ပြဲအပုိင္းအစမ်ား(မေကြးတိုင္းေဒသႀကီး၊ သရက္ခ႐ိုင္၊ ကံမၿမိဳ႕နယ္၊ စစၥရံေက်းရြာ)... သိမ္းပိုက္ခံလယ္ေျမမ်ားႏွင့္ စက္႐ုံျပင္ဆင္တည္ေဆာက္မႈမ်ား (ဓာတ္ပုံ)... အာဏာပုိင္မ်ားအား တရားစြဲဆုိခဲ့သည့္ လယ္သမားမ်ား (ဓာတ္ပုံ)... လယ္သမားအခြင့္အေရးဆုိင္ရာ ေဟာေျပာမႈအား နားေထာင္ၾကစဥ္ (ဓာတ္ပုံ)... ရြာသူရြာသားမ်ား တရားခြင္သုိ႔ စုစည္းညီၫြတ္စြာ လုိက္ပါအားေပး နားေထာင္ၾက (ဓာတ္ပုံ)... လယ္သမားမ်ား ျပန္လည္လြတ္ေျမာက္လာမႈကုိ ေဒသခံျပည္သူမ်ား ႀကဳိဆုိခဲ့ (ဓာတ္ပုံ)... (ယခုတင္ျပလိုက္ေသာ စာအုပ္ပါအေၾကာင္းအရာမ်ားမွာ လယ္သမားတို႔သည္ ႐ိုးသားစြာ လုပ္ကိုင္စားေသာက္ေနသူမ်ားျဖစ္ၿပီး မတရားမႈမ်ားကို မိမိတို႔၏ စုစည္းမႈအားျဖင့္ တြန္းလွန္၍ တရားမွ်တမႈကို ရွာေဖြတိုက္ပြဲဝင္ခဲ့ၾကသည့္ ျဖစ္ရပ္တခုအား စံနမူနာျပဳႏိုင္ေရးကို ရည္ရြယ္၍ ထုတ္ေဝျဖန္႔ခ်ိလိုက္ျခင္း ျဖစ္ပါသည္။)
Language: Burmese/ ျမန္မာဘာသာ
Source/publisher: Farmers' Rights Defenders Network/ လယ္သမားအခြင့္အေရးကာကြယ္ေစာင့္ေရွာက္သူမ်ားကြန္ယက္
Format/size: pdf (479K - OBL version; 1.2MB - original) 38 pages
Alternate URLs: http://www.humanrights.asia/resources/BurmeseSysayamFarmerBook.pdf
Date of entry/update: 10 January 2012


Title: Tenasserim Situation Update: Te Naw Th’Ri Township, May to September 2011
Date of publication: 12 December 2011
Description/subject: "This report includes a situation update submitted to KHRG in October 2011 by a villager describing events occurring in Tenasserim Division between May and October 2011. The villager describes incidents of human rights abuse, including: arbitrary taxation by civilian and military government officials to fund state-organised pyi thu sit local militia groups and schools; conscription of villagers into a pyi thu sit; and the execution of Saw L---, a villager who had been forced to serve as a guide accompanying an active patrol column of LIB #558. The villager who wrote this report believed Saw L--- was killed in retaliation for an attack against that Tatmadaw column by KNLA soldiers, in which one Tatmadaw soldier was killed and several others injured. This report also documents some of the ways in which villagers respond to human rights abuse, specifically through attempts to engage and negotiate with local powerful actors to reduce or avoid demands for arbitrary payments levied against villagers."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (229K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2011/khrg11b54.html
Date of entry/update: 18 January 2012


Title: Burma: From blinkered to market-oriented despotism?
Date of publication: 10 December 2011
Description/subject: "Since a new quasi-parliamentary government led by former army officers began work in Burma (Myanmar) earlier this year, some observers have argued that the government is showing a commitment to bring about, albeit cautiously, reforms that will result in an overall improvement in human rights conditions. The question remains, though, as to whether the new government constitutes the beginning of a real shift from the blinkered despotism of its predecessors to a new form of government, or simply to a type of semi-enlightened and market-oriented despotism, the sort of which has been more common in Asia than the type of outright military domination experienced by Burma for most of the last half-century. "
Language: English
Source/publisher: Asian Human Rights Commission
Format/size: pdf (457K - OBL version; 516K - original )
Alternate URLs: http://www.humanrights.asia/resources/hrreport/2011/AHRC-SPR-004-2011.pdf
Date of entry/update: 09 December 2011


Title: Pa'an Situation Update: September 2011
Date of publication: 03 November 2011
Description/subject: "This report includes a situation update submitted to KHRG in September 2011 by a villager describing events occurring in T'Nay Hsah Township, Pa'an District during September 2011. It details an incident in which a soldier from Tatmadaw Border Guard #1017 deliberately shot at villagers in a farm hut, resulting in the death of one civilian and injury to a six-year-old child. The report further details the subsequent concealment of this incident by Border Guard soldiers who placed an M16 rifle and ammunition next to the dead civilian and photographed his body, and ordered the local village head to corroborate their story that the dead man was a Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) soldier. The report also relates villagers' concerns regarding the use of landmines by both KNLA and Border Guard troops, which prevent villagers from freely accessing agricultural land and kill villagers' livestock and pets, and also relates an incident in September 2011 in which a villager was severely maimed when he stepped on a landmine that had been placed outside his farm."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (219K), html
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2011/khrg11b43.html
Date of entry/update: 23 January 2012


Title: Grabbing Land: Destructive Development in Ta'ang Region (Burmese)
Date of publication: November 2011
Description/subject: "This report validates the fact that multi-national and transnational companies are violating the Ta'ang ethnic nationals' fundamental human rights. The confiscation of Ta'ang peoples' land and the exploitation of their natural resources in which they depend for their subsistence and livelihood are outlined in this report. The Myanmar government continues to permit the persistence of business practices which are illegal under national and international laws. Massive displacements take place without the provisions of adequate compensation or relocation, let alone meaningful community consultations that left the affected people with no legal remedy to rebuild their lives and resume their collective activity. The situation of Ta'ang people in the Shan State is a classic example of land confiscation under the pretext of economic development while totally excluding the affected communities on the benefits of 'development' from foreign investment in the country. As a consequence of these activities the Ta'ang people have to bear the brunt of not only losing their land and source of livelihood, but as well as the practice of forced labor by the SPDC against the Ta'ang people. This forced labor facilitates private companies' projects at the expense of the already displaced community. In this situation, the women, children and the elderly are also disproportionately affected. This report lays testament to the sufferings of the Ta'ang people. This wanton violation of Ta'ang ethnic nationals' rights is representative of the emblematic and widespread disregard for the fundamental rights in Myanmar. It is an outright violation of a number of international laws which include the United Nations Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966), the violation of the International Labor Organisation (1930, No. 29, Article 2.1). It is also a breach on their commitment as UN member state to the UN Declaration on the Right to Development adopted in 1986 and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (2011). Yet, international and regional intergovernmental body such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is playing deaf and blind in addressing the situation to put an end to these illegal practices. It is hoped that this report could facilitate the necessary steps and concrete action in behalf of the Ta'ang ethnic nationals which are required from the relevant UN agencies, international and regional bodies, international financial institutions, and the bilateral and multi-lateral donor agencies. The stories collected in this report speak for the longstanding issues that beset the Ta'ang S ethnic nationals and the efforts of the Ta'ang Students and Youth Organisation in publishing this report is a very important step in trying to make a significant contribution to change that situation, now and for the generations to come. As this report shows, this situation could not continue as if it is business as usual. There is no way forward but for a multi-level dialogue to take place and agree on an amicable settlement which is in line with the national and international laws. Let this report which underlines concrete recommendations, encourages all concerned international and national stakeholders and the Ta'ang community to come together and agree to implement resolutions in ways that preserve the Ta'ang ethnic nationals' human rights while meeting the challenges of a sustainable economic development in Myanmar."
Source/publisher: Ta’ang (Palaung) Working Group - TSYO, PWO, PSLF
Format/size: pdf (7.7MB)
Date of entry/update: 25 January 2012


Title: Grabbing Land: Destructive Development in Ta'ang Region (English)
Date of publication: November 2011
Description/subject: "This report validates the fact that multi-national and transnational companies are violating the Ta'ang ethnic nationals' fundamental human rights. The confiscation of Ta'ang peoples' land and the exploitation of their natural resources in which they depend for their subsistence and livelihood are outlined in this report. The Myanmar government continues to permit the persistence of business practices which are illegal under national and international laws. Massive displacements take place without the provisions of adequate compensation or relocation, let alone meaningful community consultations that left the affected people with no legal remedy to rebuild their lives and resume their collective activity. The situation of Ta'ang people in the Shan State is a classic example of land confiscation under the pretext of economic development while totally excluding the affected communities on the benefits of 'development' from foreign investment in the country. As a consequence of these activities the Ta'ang people have to bear the brunt of not only losing their land and source of livelihood, but as well as the practice of forced labor by the SPDC against the Ta'ang people. This forced labor facilitates private companies' projects at the expense of the already displaced community. In this situation, the women, children and the elderly are also disproportionately affected. This report lays testament to the sufferings of the Ta'ang people. This wanton violation of Ta'ang ethnic nationals' rights is representative of the emblematic and widespread disregard for the fundamental rights in Myanmar. It is an outright violation of a number of international laws which include the United Nations Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966), the violation of the International Labor Organisation (1930, No. 29, Article 2.1). It is also a breach on their commitment as UN member state to the UN Declaration on the Right to Development adopted in 1986 and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (2011). Yet, international and regional intergovernmental body such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is playing deaf and blind in addressing the situation to put an end to these illegal practices. It is hoped that this report could facilitate the necessary steps and concrete action in behalf of the Ta'ang ethnic nationals which are required from the relevant UN agencies, international and regional bodies, international financial institutions, and the bilateral and multi-lateral donor agencies. The stories collected in this report speak for the longstanding issues that beset the Ta'ang S ethnic nationals and the efforts of the Ta'ang Students and Youth Organisation in publishing this report is a very important step in trying to make a significant contribution to change that situation, now and for the generations to come. As this report shows, this situation could not continue as if it is business as usual. There is no way forward but for a multi-level dialogue to take place and agree on an amicable settlement which is in line with the national and international laws. Let this report which underlines concrete recommendations, encourages all concerned international and national stakeholders and the Ta'ang community to come together and agree to implement resolutions in ways that preserve the Ta'ang ethnic nationals' human rights while meeting the challenges of a sustainable economic development in Myanmar."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Ta'ang Student and Youth Organization-TSYO
Format/size: pdf (803K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.palaungland.org
Date of entry/update: 25 January 2012


Title: Land confiscation threatens villagers' livelihoods in Dooplaya District
Date of publication: 31 October 2011
Description/subject: "In September 2011, residents of Je--- village, Kawkareik Township told KHRG that they feared soldiers under Tatmadaw Border Guard Battalion #1022 and LIBs #355 and #546 would soon complete the confiscation of approximately 500 acres of land in their community in order to develop a large camp for Battalion #1022 and homes for soldiers' families. According to the villagers, the area has already been surveyed and the Je--- village head has informed local plantation and paddy farm owners whose lands are to be confiscated. The villagers reported that approximately 167 acres of agricultural land, including seven rubber plantations, nine paddy farms, and seventeen betelnut and durian plantations belonging to 26 residents of Je--- have already been surveyed, although they expressed concern that more land would be expropriated in the future. The Je--- residents said that the village head had told them rubber plantation owners would be compensated according to the number of trees they owned, but that the villagers were collectively refusing compensation and avoiding attending a meeting at which they worried they would be ordered to sign over their land. The villagers that spoke with KHRG said they believed the Tatmadaw intended to take over their land in October after the end of the annual monsoon, and that this would seriously undermine livelihoods in a community in which many villagers depended on subsistence agriculture on established land. This bulletin is based on information collected by KHRG researchers in September and October 2011, including five interviews with residents of Je--- village, 91 photographs of the area, and a written record of lands earmarked for confiscation."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (453K), html
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2011/khrg11b41.html
Date of entry/update: 23 January 2012


Title: Papun Situation Update: Dweh Loh Township, May 2011
Date of publication: 02 September 2011
Description/subject: "This report includes a situation update submitted to KHRG in May 2011 by a villager describing events occurring in Dweh Loh Township, Papun District between January and April 2011. It contains information concerning military activities in 2011, specifically resupply operations by Border Guard and Tatmadaw troops and the reinforcement of Border Guard troops at Manerplaw. It documents twelve incidents of forced portering of military rations in Wa Muh and K'Hter Htee village tracts, including one incident during which villagers used to porter rations were ordered to sweep for landmines, as well as the forced production and delivery of a total of 44,500 thatch shingles by civilians. In response to these abuses, male villagers remove themselves from areas in which troops are conducting resupply operations, in order to avoid arrest and forced portering. This report additionally registers villagers' serious concerns regarding the planting of landmines by non-state armed groups in agricultural workplaces and the proposed development of a new dam on the Bilin River at Hsar Htaw. It includes an overview of gold-mining operations by private companies and non-state armed groups along three rivers in Dweh Loh Township, and documents abuses related to extractive industry, specifically forced relocation and land confiscation."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (628K - OBL version; 1.1MB - original), html
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2011/khrg11b26.html
http://www.khrg.org/khrg2011/khrg11b26.pdf
Date of entry/update: 01 February 2012


Title: BURMA: Farmers ambushed, attacked and prosecuted for case against army-owned company
Date of publication: 07 April 2011
Description/subject: "The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is concerned by the case of a group of farmers who lodged a complaint about attempts of an army-owned company and the powerful Htoo Company to acquire their land at a greatly undervalued amount. The farmers' complaint was rejected in court on grounds that the land was being acquired for a government project, even though the company is private. After, the company and army officers involved organized for a gang to ambush and attack a group of the farmers and to have a false criminal case lodged against them. The case has gone to court very quickly and it looks as if the court is getting orders to punish the farmers severely as a way to frighten the other farmers to stop opposing the army-backed construction project..."....Land rights; judicial system; fabrication of charges; corruption...
Language: English
Source/publisher: Asian Human Rights Commission
Format/size: pdf (86K)
Date of entry/update: 10 January 2012


Title: Upland Land Tenure Security in Myanmar - an Overview (Burmese/ ျမန္မာဘာသာ )
Date of publication: February 2011
Description/subject: "This report provides an overview of issues related to upland smallholder land tenure. The immediate objective of the report is to promote a shared understanding of land tenure issues by national-level stakeholders, with a longer term objective of improving the land tenure, livelihood and food security of upland farm families. The report is intended for government and non-government agencies, policy makers and those impacted by policy. The report covers four main areas: status of and trends in upland tenure security; institutions that regulate upland tenure security; mechanisms available to ensure access to land; and points for further consideration which could lead to increased effectiveness and equity. Trends in the uplands include increased population growth, resettlement and concentration of populations, fragmentation and degradation of agricultural lands, and increased loss of land to smallholder farmers or landlessness. Declining access to land for smallholder farmers results in the depletion of common forest resources, increased unemployment, outmigration for labor, and ultimately food insecurity for the people who live in these areas..."
Language: Burmese/ ျမန္မာဘာသာ
Source/publisher: Food Security Working Group
Format/size: pdf (4.3MB; 11MB)
Date of entry/update: 25 October 2013


Title: Upland Land Tenure Security in Myanmar, an Overview (English)
Date of publication: February 2011
Description/subject: "This report provides an overview of issues related to upland smallholder land tenure. The immediate objective of the report is to promote a shared understanding of land tenure issues by national-level stakeholders, with a longer term objective of improving the land tenure, livelihood and food security of upland farm families. The report is intended for government and non-government agencies, policy makers and those impacted by policy. The report covers four main areas: status of and trends in upland tenure security; institutions that regulate upland tenure security; mechanisms available to ensure access to land; and points for further consideration which could lead to increased effectiveness and equity. Trends in the uplands include increased population growth, resettlement and concentration of populations, fragmentation and degradation of agricultural lands, and increased loss of land to smallholder farmers or landlessness. Declining access to land for smallholder farmers results in the depletion of common forest resources, increased unemployment, outmigration for labor, and ultimately food insecurity for the people who live in these areas..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Food Security Working Group
Format/size: pdf (2.6MB)
Date of entry/update: 25 October 2013


Title: Land Tenure: A foundation for food security in Myanmar’s uplands (Burmese/ ျမန္မာဘာသာ )
Date of publication: December 2010
Description/subject: "Access to land for smallholder farmers is a critical foundation for food security in Myanmar's uplands. Land tenure guarantees seem to be eroding and access to land becoming more difficult in some upland areas. If this trend continues it may have negative impacts for food security and undermine environmental and economic sustainability. This briefing paper explores the relationship between land tenure and food security, as well as key institutional and other factors that influence land access and tenure for smallholder farmers in the uplands today..."
Language: Burmese/ ျမန္မာဘာသာ
Source/publisher: Food Security Working Group
Format/size: pdf (489K)
Date of entry/update: 25 October 2013


Title: Land Tenure: A foundation for food security in Myanmar’s uplands (English)
Date of publication: December 2010
Description/subject: "Access to land for smallholder farmers is a critical foundation for food security in Myanmar's uplands. Land tenure guarantees seem to be eroding and access to land becoming more difficult in some upland areas. If this trend continues it may have negative impacts for food security and undermine environmental and economic sustainability. This briefing paper explores the relationship between land tenure and food security, as well as key institutional and other factors that influence land access and tenure for smallholder farmers in the uplands today."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Food Security Working Group
Format/size: pdf (458K)
Date of entry/update: 25 October 2013


Title: Tyrants, Tycoons and Tigers
Date of publication: 25 August 2010
Description/subject: Summary: "A bitter land struggle is unfolding in northern Burma’s remote Hugawng Valley. Farmers that have been living for generations in the valley are defying one of the country’s most powerful tycoons as his company establishes massive mono-crop plantations in what happens to be the world’s largest tiger reserve. The Hukawng Valley Tiger Reserve in Kachin State was declared by the Myanmar* Government in 2001 with the support of the US-based Wildlife Conservation Society. In 2004 the reserve’s designation was expanded to include the entire valley of 21,890 square kilometers (8,452 square miles), making it the largest tiger reserve in the world. Today a 200,000 acre mono-crop plantation project is making a mockery of the reserve’s protected status. Fleets of tractors, backhoes, and bulldozers rip up forests, raze bamboo groves and fl atten existing small farms. Signboards that mark animal corridors and “no hunting zones” stand out starkly against a now barren landscape; they are all that is left of conservation efforts. Application of chemical fertilizers and herbicides together with the daily toil of over two thousand imported workers are transforming the area into huge tapioca, sugar cane, and jatropha plantations. In 2006 Senior General Than Shwe, Burma’s ruling despot, granted the Rangoon-based Yuzana Company license to develop this “agricultural development zone” in the tiger reserve. Yuzana Company is one of Burma’s largest businesses and is chaired by U Htay Myint, a prominent real estate tycoon who has close connections with the junta. Local villagers tending small scale farms in the valley since before it was declared a reserve have seen their crops destroyed and their lands confi scated. Confl icts between Yuzana Company employees, local authorities, and local residents have fl ared up and turned violent several times over the past few years, culminating with an attack on residents of Ban Kawk village in 2010. As of February 2010, 163 families had been forced into a relocation site where there is little water and few fi nished homes. Since then, through further threats and intimidation, * The current military regime changed the country’s name to Myanmar in 1989 1 others families have been forced to take “compensation funds” which are insuffi cient to begin a new life and leave them destitute. Despite the powerful interests behind the Yuzana project, villagers have been bravely standing up to protect their farmlands and livelihoods. They have sent numerous formal appeals to the authorities, conducted prayer ceremonies, tried to reclaim their fi elds, refused to move, and defended their homes. The failure of various government offi cials to reply to or resolve the problem fi nally led the villagers to reach out to the United Nations and the National League for Democracy in Burma. In March 2010 representatives of three villages fi led written requests to the International Labor Organization to investigate the actions of Yuzana. In July 2010, over 100 farmers opened a joint court case in Kachin State. Although the villagers in Yuzana’s project area have been ignored at every turn, they remain determined to seek a just solution to the problems in Hugawng. As Burma’s military rulers prepare for their 2010 “election,” local residents hold no hope for change from a new constitution that only legalizes the status quo and the military’s placement above the law. Companies such as Yuzana that have close military connections are set to play an increasing role in the economy and will also remain above the law. The residents of Hugawng Valley are thus at the frontline of protecting not only their own lands and environment but also the rights of all of Burma’s farmers. The Kachin Development Networking Group stands fi rmly with these communities and therefore calls on Yuzana to stop their project implementation to avoid any further citizens’ rights abuses and calls on all Kachin communities and leaders to work together with Hugawng villagers in their brave struggle."
Language: English and the other EU languages
Source/publisher: Kachin Development Networking Group (KDNG)
Format/size: pdf (2.6MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.aksyu.com/images/stories/tyrants_tycoons_n_tigers.jpg
Date of entry/update: 25 August 2010


Title: Under The Boot - A Village's Story of Burmese Army Occupation to Build a Dam on the Shweli River
Date of publication: 03 December 2007
Description/subject: "At night the Shweli has always sung sweet songs for us. But now the nights are silent and the singing has stopped. We are lonely and wondering what has happened to our Shweli?" ... "Exclusive photos and testimonies from a remote village near the China-Burma border uncover how Chinese dam builders are using Burma Army troops to secure Chinese investments. Under the Boot, a new report by Palaung researchers, details the implementation of the Shweli Dam project, China's first Build-Operate-Transfer hydropower deal with Burma's junta. Since 2000, the Palaung village of Man Tat, the site of the 600 megawatt dam project, has been overrun by hundreds of Burmese troops and Chinese construction workers. Villagers have been suffering land confiscation, forced labour, and restriction on movement ever since, and a five kilometer diversion tunnel has been blasted through the hill on which the village is situated. Photos in the report show soldiers carrying out parade drills, weapons assembly, and target practice in the village. "This Chinese project has been like a sudden military invasion. The villagers had no idea the dam would be built until the soldiers arrived," said Mai Aung Ko from the Palaung Youth Network Group (Ta'ang), which produced the report. Burma's Ministry of Electric Power formed a joint venture with Yunnan Joint Power Development Company, a consortium of Chinese companies, to build and operate the project. Electricity generated will be sent to China and several military-run mining operations in Burma. As the project nears completion, plans are underway for two more dams on the Shweli River, a tributary of the Irrawaddy..."
Language: English, Burmese, Chinese
Source/publisher: Palaung Youth Network Group
Format/size: pdf (4.76MB - English; 1.35MB - Chinese; 4.41MB - Burmese)
Alternate URLs: http://www.salweenwatch.org/images/stories/downloads/brn/underthebootchinesewithcover_2.pdf (Chinese)
http://www.salweenwatch.org/images/stories/downloads/brn/underthebootburmese.pdf
Date of entry/update: 04 December 2007


Title: Massive Abuse on Land, Enviroment and Property Rights
Date of publication: August 2006
Description/subject: 1.Introduction: 1.1 Purpose of Discussion Paper... 2.Background History: 2.1 Ethnic Politics and Military Interference... 3.land tenure legislation (1948-62): 3.1 Earlier a brief period of Democracy (1948-1962) 3.2 Under BSBP rule (1962-1988) 3.3 Under Military uling (1988-Up to now)... 4. Socio-Economicpoverty and lnd Ownership... 5. Summary of Findings... 6.Analysis of Findings... 7. Militarization and land Confiscation... 8. No rights to a fair Market price and food sovereignty... 9. Abusing the Environment and natural resources... 10. new poverty due to illegal Tax Payment
Author/creator: Khaing Dhu Wan
Language: English
Source/publisher: Network for Enviroment and Economic Development (NEED)
Format/size: pdf (198.97 KB)
Date of entry/update: 21 September 2010