INITIATIVES

MYANMAR HLP INITIATIVE

PAST INITIATIVE

Since its establishment in 2006, Displacement Solutions has been active in exploring the housing, land and property rights situation in Myanmar. The Myanmar HLP Initiative aims to shed new light on the numerous HLP rights issues in Myanmar today by building capacity for enforcing these rights by citizens of the country.  The Initiative works together with various groups towards these ends.

The Initiative explores key questions such as:

  • What are the characteristics and status of the legal regime in Myanmar as it relates to HLP rights issues?

  • How effective is the current legal regime in protecting and promoting human rights standards relevant to HLP rights?

  • How can the current legal code be used to address HLP rights in Myanmar?

  • How might the current legal code be reformed to more effectively protect and promote HLP rights?

  • How can the capacity of civil society be enhanced to more effectively address the HLP legal environment in Myanmar?

PUBLICATIONS

DS/NRC REPORT ON MYANMAR’S NEXT CHALLENGE: MAKING RESTITUTION A REALITY AND A PART OF THE PEACE PROCESS, MARCH 2017

Displacement Solutions and the Norwegian Refugee Council have called for dialogue on the establishment of a new nationwide restitution programme that would return homes, land and properties to their rightful owners and its inclusion in the peace process. The new report Restitution in Myanmar: Building Lasting Peace, National Reconciliation and Economic Prosperity Through a Comprehensive Housing, Land and Property Restitution Programme explores both the progress made towards ending practices of land grabbing and forced displacement, as well as pointing out the still considerable gaps between law and policy in the country and international law and best practices.

Based on the extensive global restitution experiences of both organisations, the report takes the view that redressing housing, land and property abuses and creating pathways by which those affected can access legal remedies for these losses. Though some important strides have been made to address some manifestations of land grabbing by the NLD-led government, millions of people throughout the country and overseas, including refugees and IDPs, have not yet been able to formally reclaim their homes. The report argues that restitution must form a central component of the peace process and find a prominent place within any eventual peace agreements.

The report continues “To be consistent with international standards, the best practice of other States that have engaged in restitution and in the best interests of Myanmar, any restitution process must ensure, at a minimum, that everyone deserves, in accordance with the basic legal principle, an effective remedy for any acts of land confiscation determined by an independent, impartial and fair remedial body and commitments that such confiscation will not be repeated in the future.”

Recommendations are made towards dialogue on the establishment of a grassroots Myanmar Restitution Organisation to advocate for a new restitution law and programme, a renewed focus on restitution during peace negotiations, and that a process should begin now to debate restitution throughout the country, resulting in the drafting of relevant legislation, e.g., a new restitution law and claims mechanism, drawing on the restitution processes carried out in numerous other countries in recent decades.

The key author of the report, Scott Leckie, adds that “Despite historical political and economic reforms since 2011, Myanmar continues to face a series of seemingly intractable challenges. The peace process is viewed as increasingly stagnant, renewed human rights abuses and instability in Rakhine State have drawn the growing ire of the entire international community, political assassinations have been carried out and growing tensions between the NLD-led government and military are all too rapidly reducing the winds of hope that blew so strongly through the country just a year ago. There are concrete ways to get past at least some of these impasses, and we believe that implementing a national restitution programme could provide a constructive pathway to building stronger foundations for peace, reconciliation and democratic principles in the country.”

Prasant Naik, NRC Country Director in Myanmar, highlights the fact that “where Housing, Land and Property rights are at stake there needs to be effective remedies in place for displaced persons and other persons of concern. Ongoing efforts need to be strengthened in order to address the needs of those most vulnerable as an integral part of the peace process”.

Copies of the report are available here: Restitution in Myanmar and at www.nrc.no

DS & NORWEGIAN REFUGEE COUNCIL URGE THE APPLICATION OF THE UN’S PINHEIRO PRINCIPLES THROUGHOUT MYANMAR, MARCH 2017

 

Displacement Solutions and the Norwegian Refugee Council today released a new publication outlining how Myanmar could constructively apply the UN’s Pinheiro Principles on Housing and Property Restitution for Refugees and Displaced Persons (2005) as a key tool to resolve ongoing forced displacement throughout the country.  The booklet provides a brief history of the Pinheiro Principles and the full text of this historic document which provides  comprehensive framework for securing HLP restitution rights for refugees and IDPs everywhere, including those from Myanmar. The publication is accompanied by a lengthier Introductory Guide on Understanding and Claiming Housing, Land and Property Restitution Rights in Myanmar: Questions and Answers which was also released today. Later this month, a 72-page legal analysis of HLP restitution issues in Myanmar, prepared for NRC by the DS Director Scott Leckie, will be published. This report examines the current state of affairs regarding restitution in the country and concludes with five specific recommendations that can be implemented to bring the dream of restitution ever closer to the millions of people from Myanmar who still have yet to resolve their outstanding claims for homes and lands from which they were forced to flee. The detailed report explores the vital nature of restitution within the context of the peace process and urges all parties to the peace negotiation process in the country to embrace restitution norms a central element in any quest for sustained peace and reconciliation. The first two reports can be accessed here: A Framework for Resolving Displacement in Myanmar and here: An Introductory Guide to Claiming HLP Restitution in Myanmar. Copies of all three reports will also be available in Myanmar (Burmese) and Karen.

 

 

NEW DS STUDY ON LAND ACQUISITION LAW AND PRACTICE IN MYANMAR, AUGUST 2014

DS has just completed a 70-page legal study examining Land Acquisition and Practice in Myanmar. Requested by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to carry out this in-depth survey based on DS’ many years working on land issues in the country, the study minutely analyses areas of Myanmar land acquisition laws against the comparatively strong provisions found in the IFC’s Performance Standards 1 and 5, the latter of which outlines rules on Land Acquisition and Involuntary Resettlement when the IFC engages with client companies investing in locations potentially involving land acquisition measures. Given Myanmar’s lengthy and controversial practices of land acquisition – both historical and present – the study aims to assist companies to comply in full with the far more stringent IFC standards and, in turn, ensure that investments do not lead either to arbitrary land confiscation nor to any additional violations of the rights possessed by those living on affected land. 

Land issues remain front and centre in the political reform process in Myanmar, and DS continues to be deeply involved on these issues through the work of its Myanmar HLP Initiative. Please contact DS if you would like to learn more about this and other projects we are engaged with in Myanmar – info@displacementsolutions.org.

LAND RIGHTS AND MINE ACTION IN MYANMAR, FEBRUARY 2014

Vast areas of land in Myanmar are currently contaminated by landmines and other explosive remnants of war (ERW) as a legacy of decades of armed conflict between the national government and a wide range of ethnic armed groups.

With support from Norwegian People’s Action (NPA), Displacement Solutions (DS) carried out an extensive stakeholder consultation process within Myanmar and in Thailand in mid-2013 to gauge sentiments about the land rights-landmines nexus and to elicit the widest possible cross-section of views on principles and processes that should be applied to effectuate a Do No Harm approach.

Based on these inputs, as well as examination of the experiences of other countries and extensive additional research, this report sets forth two key sets of proposals for generating land rights-sensitive mine action in Myanmar. The first set of proposals identifies eight overarching humanitarian, democratic and community-sensitive principles that should inform mine action as it impacts upon land rights. The second set of proposals outlines a 14 step sequence, set forth step by step, that are intended to provide guidance for operationalizing the overarching principles as mine action proceeds.

To read the article, click here.

BRIDGING THE HOUSING LAND AND PROPERTY GAP, JUNE 2013

Displacement Solutions has presented Scott Leckie’s latest report Bridging the Housing Land and Property Gap at the Sedona Hotel, Yangon, Myanmar.

Bridging the HLP Gap urges government bodies and ethnic group representatives to recognise and address housing, land, and property (HLP) rights of refugees and IDPs affected during the country’s transitional phase. The report contains a number of recommendations to ensure unanimous agreement on the complex and vital issues comprising HLP rights as a foundation for sustainable peace. To read the article, click here.

MYANMAR AT THE HLP CROSSROADS, OCTOBER 2012

Myanmar at the HLP Crossroads is the first comprehensive report to focus on housing, land, and property rights (HLP rights) in Myanmar since President Thein Sein took office in March 2011. According to the main author of the report, Scott Leckie, “Myanmar now finds itself at a critical juncture. Whichever way the country decides to go will decisively shape the housing, land and property realities of everyone in the years to come. The decisions taken now need to well-informed, inspired by the best practices of other countries that have undergone structural political transition and based squarely on the will of the people”.

The report outlines four specific recommendations that it beleives can greatly improve the HLP prospects of the country in the coming period. Beyond calling for a National HLP Summit, the report also urges that work commence immediately to reform the inadequate and outdated HLP legal code in the country (including the revision of the two 2012 land laws) resulting in a consolidated National HLP Law, and for far greater attention to be paid to the consequences of land grabbing and speculation. To access the report, click here.

GUIDANCE NOTE ON LAND GRABBING AND SPECULATION IN THE NEW MYANMAR, JULY 2012

Though 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.

HOUSING, LAND AND PROPERTY RIGHTS IN BURMA: THE CURRENT LEGAL CODE, DECEMBER 2009

Prepared by Scott Leckie and Ezekiel Simperingham. 

The 1,245 page book Housing, Land and Property Rights in Burma: The Current Legal Code was published in late 2009. Since its publication, this comprehensive volume has been widely distributed throughout Burma and to groups comprising the international democratic movement for Burma. Displacement Solutions is currently organising a series of on-site distribution and discussion sessions of the issues raised in the book to groups in various location in Thailand.

Download or order the new book by Displacement Solutions – Housing, Land and Property Rights in Burma: The Current Legal Framework.

Download digital version (3.6MB)

DS ARTICLE “HOUSING, LAND AND PROPERTY RIGHTS IN BURMA: TOWARDS NEW STRATEGIES”, APRIL 2009

This DS article outlines the housing, land and property rights issues in Burma and proposes new strategies to address them. It was published by LawKa PaLa, a Legal Journal on Burma. It can be accessed here.

 

INTERVIEWS

DVB ON DS REPORT: THE PEACE PROCESS AND LAND RIGHTS, JUNE 2013 

The Democratic Voice of Burma has recently covered the release of DisplacementSolutions report “Bridging the HLP Gap” and states that the housing, land and property rights of Burma’s displaced ethnic people have been largely ignored during the ongoing peace process.

Read the full article here.

MYANMAR TIMES ON DS REPORT: BRIDGING THE HLP GAP, JUNE 2013

The Myanmar Times recently reported on the findings of the Displacement Solutions Report “Bridging the Housing, Land and Property Gap”, by DS Director, Scott Leckie, that was presented to stakeholders at the Sedona Hotel, Yangon on Monday, 3 June.

Read the full article here.

DS DIRECTOR INTERVIEW WITH DEUTSCHE WELLE ON THE WORRYING TRANSITION OF MYANMAR, MARCH 2013

Germany’s international broadcaster, Deutsche Welle, has recently published aninterview with Displacement Solutions Director, Scott Leckie, on the apparent failings of Democracy Darling Aung San Suu Kyi and the Myanmar Government to protect it’s citizens during this tumultuous transition towards opening up of the country and resultant greater economic freedoms by allowing prolific land-grabbing to take place.

Leckie gives a frank assessment of the situation at hand and adds that the fate of the country lies in it’s leaders ability to take decisive and lasting action for the benefit of it’s citizens.

DS DIRECTOR DELIVERS SPEECH IN MYANMAR, JUNE 2012

DS visited Myanmar (Burma) in mid-June to examine the country’s rapidly evolving political reforms and how these are likely to affect the HLP rights of its citizens.

DS Director, Scott Leckie, delivered a speech on the opportunity for Myanmar to protect HLP rights during this time of political transition at the Chatrium Hotel in Yangon (Rangoon) for a seminar organised by UN Habitat; Understanding Housing, Land and Property Rights: Challenges in a Changing Myanmar.

DS will be releasing two new reports on HLP rights in Myanmar in coming weeks; a blueprint for improving HLP rights protections, and HLP rights issues within the peace processes in the east of the country.

Read Scott Leckie’s speech here.

DS DIRECTOR INTERVIEW BY THE DEMOCRATIC VOICE OF BURMA, DECEMBER 2009

On 28 December 2009, DS Director, Scott Leckie, spoke with the Democratic Voice of Burma about the DS book on Housing, Land and Property Rights in Burma.

 

Interview available here

 

OTHER RESOURCES

BURMA’S HLP LAWS – FULL TEXTS IN ENGLISH AND BURMESE

This section contains the full text of all laws, amendments and decrees that address the full spectrum of housing, land and property rights in Burma.

 

Each of these laws can be found in the compilation “Housing, Land and Property Rights in Burma: The Current Legal Framework“.

HOUSING, LAND AND PROPERTY LAWS IN BURMA – IN FORCE

THE CASTE DISABILITIES REMOVAL ACT (1850)

THE HINDU WIDOWS’ REMARRIAGE ACT (1856)

THE LAND AND REVENUE ACT (1879)

THE MARRIED WOMEN’S PROPERTY ACT (1874)

THE SPECIFIC RELIEF ACT (1877)

THE KAZIS ACT (1880)

THE TRANSFER OF PROPERTY ACT (1882)

THE LAND ACQUISITION (MINES) ACT (1885)

THE UPPER BURMA LAND AND REVENUE REGULATION (1889)

THE PARTITION ACT (1893)

THE LAND ACQUISITION ACT (1894)

THE BURMA LAWS ACT (1898)

THE LOWER BURMA TOWN AND VILLAGE LANDS ACT (1899)

THE TOWNS ACT (1907)

THE TOWNS (AMENDMENT) ACT (1947)

THE TOWNS (AMENDMENT) ACT (1947)

THE TENANCY (AMENDMENT) LAW (1965)

THE VILLAGE ACT (1908)

THE VILLAGE (AMENDMENT) ACT (1955)

THE VILLAGE (AMENDMENT) ACT (1961)

THE EMBANKMENT ACT (1909)

THE CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE (1909) [Selections]

THE REGISTRATION ACT (1909)

THE HINDU DISPOSITION OF PROPERTY ACT (1916)

THE RANGOON DEVELOPMENT TRUST ACT (1921)

THE CITY OF RANGOON MUNICIPAL ACT (1922)

THE CITY OF RANGOON MUNICIPAL AMENDMENT ACT (Law No IX) (1955)

THE CITY OF RANGOON MUNICIPAL AMENDMENT ACT (Law No XLI) (1955)

THE CITY OF RANGOON MUNICIPAL AMENDMENT ACT (1958)

THE CITY OF RANGOON MUNICIPAL AMENDMENT ACT (1960)

THE CITY OF RANGOON MUNICIPAL AMENDMENT ACT (1961)

THE CITY OF YANGON MUNICIPAL AMENDMENT ACT (1991)

THE CANTONMENTS (HOUSE ACCOMMODATION) ACT (1923)

THE WATER POWER ACT (1927)

THE HINDU INHERITANCE (REMOVAL OF DISABILITIES) ACT (1928)

THE HINDU LAW OF INHERITANCE (AMENDMENT) ACT (1929)

THE HINDU GAINS OF LEARNING ACT (1930)

THE CUSTODIAN OF MOVABLE PROPERTY ACT (1945)

THE PUBLIC PROPERTY PROTECTION ACT (1947)

THE REQUISITIONING (EMERGENCY PROVISIONS) ACT (1947)

THE LAND NATIONALISATION ACT (1953)

THE URBAN RENT CONTROL ACT (1960)

THE URBAN RENT CONTROL (AMENDMENT ) ACT (1960)

THE URBAN RENT CONTROL (AMENDMENT ) ACT (1960)

THE URBAN RENT CONTROL (AMENDMENT ) ACT (1961)

THE TENANCY LAW (1963)

THE TENANCY (AMENDMENT) LAW (1965)

THE LAW SAFEGUARDING PEASANT RIGHTS (1963)

THE ELECTRICITY LAW (1984)

THE LAW AMENDING THE ELECTRICITY LAW (1990)

THE TRANSFER OF IMMOVEABLE PROPERTY RESTRICTION ACT (1987)

THE LAW AMENDING THE TRANSFER OF IMMOVEABLE PROPERTY RESTRICTION LAW (2005)

THE UNION OF MYANMAR FOREIGN INVESTMENT LAW (1988)

PROCEDURES RELATING TO THE UNION OF MYANMAR FOREIGN INVESTMENT LAW (1988)

THE CITY OF YANGON DEVELOPMENT LAW (1990)

THE LAW AMENDING THE CITY OF YANGON DEVELOPMENT LAW (1995)

THE LAW AMENDING THE CITY OF YANGON DEVELOPMENT law (1996)

DUTIES AND RIGHTS OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF CULTURAL LAND, FALLOW LAND AND WASTE LAND (1991)

PROCEDURES CONFERRING THE RIGHT TO CULTIVATE LAND, UTILIZE LAND (1991)

PROCEDURES CONFERRING THE RIGHT TO CULTIVATE, UTILIZE LAND FOR AGRICULTURAL AND LIVESTOCK BREEDING PURPOSES (AMENDMENT) (1998)

THE LAW FOR THE REPEAL OF LAWS (1992)

THE FOREST LAW (1992)

THE NARCOTIC DRUGS AND PSYCHOTROPIC SUBSTANCES LAW (1993)

DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEES LAW (1993)

THE LAW AMENDING THE DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEES LAW (1997)

THE CHILD LAW (1993)

THE DEVELOPMENT OF BORDER AREAS AND NATIONAL RACES LAW (1993)

THE PROTECTION OF WILDLIFE AND CONSERVATION OF AND PROTECTION OF NATURAL AREAS LAW (1994)

THE MYANMAR MINES LAW (1994)

THE PROTECTION AND PRESERVATION OF CULTURAL HERITAGE REGIONS LAW (1998)

THE JUDICIARY LAW (2000)

THE HIGHWAYS LAW (2000)

THE ATTORNEY GENERAL LAW (2001)

THE CITY OF MANDALAY DEVELOPMENT LAW (1992)

THE CITY OF MANDALAY DEVELOPMENT LAW (2002)

ORDER NO 3 CONFERRING POWERS RELATING TO LAND ADMINISTRATION (2007)

CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE UNION OF MYANMAR (2008)

HOUSING, LAND AND PROPERTY LAWS IN BURMA – REPEALED

THE WASTE LANDS CLAIMS ACT (1863)

THE LAND IMPROVEMENT LOANS ACT (1883)

THE GOVERNMENT MANAGEMENT OF PRIVATE ESTATES ACT (1892)

THE MUNICIPAL ACT (1898)

THE LAW AMENDING THE MUNICIPAL ACT (1990)

THE GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS ACT (1899)

THE ANCIENT MONUMENTS PRESERVATION ACT (1904)

THE HIGHWAYS ACT (1907)

THE ELECTRICITY ACT (1911)

THE WILD LIFE PROTECTION ACT (1936)

THE LAND ALIENATION ACT (1939)

THE BURMA LAND PURCHASE ACT (1941)

THE MONTHLY LEASES (TERMINATION) ACT (1946)

THE BUILDINGS (REGULATION OF CONSTRUCTION AND REPAIR) ACT (1946)

THE BUILDINGS (REGULATION OF CONSTRUCTION AND REPAIR) (AMENDMENT) ACT (1948)

THE TENANCY ACT (1946)

THE TRANSFER OF IMMOVABLE PROPERTY (RESTRICTION) ACT (1948)

THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNION OF BURMA (1948)

THE LAND NATIONALIZATION ACT (1948)

THE URBAN RENT CONTROL ACT (1948)

THE URBAN RENT CONTROL ACT (APPLICATION) ACT (1952)

THE CONSTITUTION OF THE SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF THE UNION OF BURMA (1974)

THE CITY OF MANDALAY DEVELOPMENT LAW (1992)

For further information on any of the activities of this Initiative, please contact info@displacementsolutions.org