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Community-Driven Operational Grievance Mechanisms

Author: Jonathan Kaufman and Katherine McDonnell, Business and Human Rights Journal, Volume 1, Issue 1, Published on: 25 January 2016

…For…locals who have been displaced to make way for new factories, Thilawa [one of Myanmar’s first Special Economic Zones (SEZ)] has been synonymous with loss of land and livelihoods…To the Myanmar Government, JICA…and potential investors…the SEZ is a ticket to a better life for the displaced villagers…Stung by international criticism…JICA has triggered a review of the Thilawa project, with a special emphasis on the impact on local livelihoods... A centrepiece of this review is the establishment of a grievance mechanism…This article describes a new way to approach grievance resolution…that the displaced residents of Thilawa are pioneering with the co-operation of EarthRights International (ERI)…: the community-driven operational grievance mechanism (CDOGM). Our model proceeds from a simple premise: if we want dispute resolution processes to promote human rights…then those processes should be designed and approved by the affected persons…rather than those who are believed to have caused the problems in the first place.

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