Land Grabbing as an Internationally Wrongful Act – NEW DS Report on Ending Land Grabbing in Myanmar

21 October 2019

DS has just published a major 184-page legal report on the land grabbing in Myanmar and how these processes constitute internationally wrongful acts. The report includes a 21-step legal roadmap to end land grabbing once and for in Myanmar, a nation that is one of the worst in the world in  Although the general power of States to compulsorily acquire, expropriate or otherwise confiscate or 'grab' land, homes and properties is legislatively recognised in virtually all national legal systems, to be lawful these processes generally carry with them five fundamental pre-conditions. Namely, when housing, land or property rights are revoked or limited through these processes, this can only be carried out when the taking concerned is:             1) subject to law and due process;             2) subject to the general principles of international law;             3) in the interest of society and not for the benefit of another private party;             4) proportionate, reasonable and subject to a fair balance test between the cost and the aim sought; and             5) subject to the provision of just and satisfactory compensation. In all countries, the act of compulsorily acquiring land is highly regulated and something which rights-respecting governments are often reluctant…...
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Climate Land Bank Idea Gets Major Boost in New ADB Report

7 August 2019

A new report on Promoting Affordable Housing in Yangon, Myanmar published by the Asian Development Bank has, among other recommendations, urged the government of Myanmar to consider establishing a National Climate Land Bank to proactively address the looming climate displacement crisis in the country. The report notes that "Myanmar’s housing sector is struggling to cope with rapid urbanization, internal migration, and new demand from recent economic growth. These challenges are most apparent in the Yangon Region, where estimates suggest there will be a housing shortage of 1.3 million units by 2030. This publication assesses the current housing market situation in Yangon. It identifies reform options and offers practical recommendations to support the Yangon Region Government’s implementation of its affordable housing agenda and related policies." With a specific recommendation to establish a climate land bank, the report continues "The central importance of land for security, stability, and economic development is already well-recognized by the present government and by all organs of civil society, which have commenced identifying state land resources for eventual distribution to landless rural poor households as part of broader land reform efforts. In this context, the establishment of the MNCLB would be a further element of broader land…...
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New DS & NRC Report on Obstacles to HLP Rights in Northern Mon State

16 April 2019

Land in south-eastern Myanmar is a critical resource for the mainly rural population which is in need of greater safeguards within the formal, informal and customary systems of land administration. Customary law continues to operate at the village level, largely unchanged since pre-colonial times. While exhibiting many of the positive elements commonly attributed to such systems throughout the developing world, customary laws in relation to the resolution of land disputes are not always effective and equitable, and do not always display qualities which are consistent with rule of law standards. Deficiencies in transparency, accountability and equality have the potential to undermine the ability of marginalised sections of the population to access justice and obtain fair outcomes. Decades of military rule have exacerbated the structural inequalities experienced by Mon, Kayin and other ethnicities in their interactions with government authorities and the parallel administrations of Ethnic Armed Organisations (EAOs). This means that in addition to the large amounts of land-grabbing experienced by the population across Mon State, the avenues of resolving such grievances remain inaccessible to most poor rural populations, due to a combination of fear of authorities, language barriers, lack of knowledge regarding land law and dispute resolution mechanisms beyond the…...
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Customary Land Dispute Mechanisms in Myanmar – New Report by DS & NRC

16 April 2019

This report provides an in-depth understanding of customary land dispute resolution in Kayin State, Eastern Bago Region and Shan State and its interaction with the formal statutory Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar(GORUM) system. A participatory community-based research approach was used to understand customary practices concerning land, including how land title is defined, enforced and how land disputes are contested, negotiated and resolved at the community level. Based on the perceptions of local people and village leaders in the three research sites, the report identifies current practices as well as prior work on this topic in Myanmar and seeks to identify ongoing dispute resolution mechanisms and practices used by communities in ethnic nationality areas with a view to informing policy and programming on restitution. Key to this analysis is the question of what a genuine restitution process might look like in Myanmar and how customary practices might be integrated into it. Furthermore, if a genuine restitution process was established, what realistic capacity is there to integrate customary dispute mechanisms and authorities into it. Based on in-depth qualitative research in 31 villages across 3 regions/states, it offers an insight into understandings of customary mechanisms that people use to…...
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DS Comments on Post-Earthquake HLP Policy in Nepal

9 April 2019

Displacement Solutions was approached and commissioned by DFID to carry out research on the housing, land and property rights issues arising from the reconstruction process, with an emphasis on the planned relocation aspects thereof. Displacement Solutions undertook a three-person mission to Nepal in November 2018 during which time extensive interviews were carried out, field visits made, and film footage taken for the production of a short documentary film which has since been completed. Based on this methodology, this report focuses on aspects of progress to date related to survivors access to housing, land and property either at their homes of origin, or through various relocation and resettlement schemes underway since government led reconstruction work was initiated in late 2015. https://issuu.com/displacementsolutions/docs/nepal_idp_and_hlp_paper...
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The People of Myanmar Need National Agreement on Restitution

24 February 2019

A new 76-page report prepared by DS Director Scott Leckie with the collaboration of Jose Arraiza of NRC, with the support of the Joint Peace Fund, outlines the components of what an eventual agreement in Myanmar on housing, land and property restitution could look like. The report, entitled BUILDING AGREEMENT ON RESTITUTION RIGHTS WITH THE MYANMAR PEACE PROCESS AND NATIONAL LEGAL FRAMEWORK examines all of the necessary components that would need to find recognition within an eventual national agreement designed to ensure that everyone with a viable HLP restitution claim could submit these to an independent judicial body with enforcement powers strong enough to ensure the full enjoyment of restitution rights throughout all corners of the country. Millions of people with legitimate restitution claims have yet to be able to have these claims heard by judicial bodies with the power to enforce these claims to return to, recover and/or re-inhabit the homes and lands from which they have been forced to flee over the past several decades. The report points out that HLP restitution rights are widely recognised in international law, and that many other countries have adopted restitution laws and procedures as key elements within peace processes and the…...
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OpenGlobalRights covers Myanmar Climate Land Bank report

10 July 2018

  OpenGlobalRights has published a recent article on the DS Myanmar Climate Land Bank report of May 2018. You can access the article here: https://www.openglobalrights.org/climate-land-banks-addressing-displacement-in-myanmar-and-beyond/...
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Australia’s Torres Strait Islands and Climate Displacement

13 June 2018

A new DS report released today explores the effects of climate change and rising sea levels on one of Australia most vulnerable communities. The 47-page report - An Analysis and Recommendations on Applying the Peninsula Principles on Climate Displacement Within States to Current and Future Climate Displacement in Australia's Torres Strait Islands - examines how the Peninsula Principles could be used to guide local and national law and policy to ensure that the rights of Torres Strait Islanders are fully ensured in the context of ever worsening climate change effects there. The report offers a series of specific conclusions and recommendations on how to improve the prospects of one of Australia's most vulnerable coastal communities. The full report is available here: Torres Strait Islands and Climate Displacement...
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Ten Years of DS Efforts on Housing, Land and Property Rights in Myanmar – An Overview

4 June 2018

Over the past decade, Displacement Solutions has undertaken extensive research aimed at shedding light on the numerous housing, land and property (HLP) rights issues facing the people of Myanmar. Through these efforts DS aims to build the capacity of the people of Myanmar to exercise and enforce their HLP rights. To this end, DS provides practical guidance to citizens and their governments through the development of institutional and policy frameworks, guiding principles and practical steps which seek to reduce, eliminate and redress HLP rights abuses. A new report documents eleven books and reports published by DS on these themes with the intent of informing and aiding the Myanmar government, key ethnic actors, humanitarian organisations and citizens on the importance of HLP rights within Myanmar. The documents outlined here are just a portion of DS' research efforts concerning the country. Many of our other papers and reports on more sensitive themes have intentionally been kept internal by the organisations and institutions for whom they were prepared.  These publications cover topics spanning national policy development on land grabbing and speculation, recommendations for the development of a comprehensive HLP rights framework within Myanmar, the manner in which HLP rights can be addressed during…...
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