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24 Jul 2015

Daniel Aguirre, International Commission of Jurists

Comments on National Land Use Policy consultation

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"National Land Use Policy Consultation in Nay Pyi Taw: A positive step or a distraction?", 1 July 2015

I have been at the Workshop on the National Land Use Policy Formulation held at the Myanmar International Convention Centre in Nay Pyi Taw. Under discussion was the 6th, and likely final, draft of the National Land Use Policy...While the government should be commended for holding open consultation and taking on board many of the comments from civil society, the consultation’s location in Nay Pyi Taw is prohibitive to most civil society organizations (CSOs)...During the group presentations summarising the discussions, many in civil society noted that key issues had not yet been addressed. It was clear that civil society’s concern over ‘market-based solutions’ and ‘contract farming’ will not be heeded and will be in the final draft in some form. There was some confusion noted over translations of terms, including the word ‘treaty.’ Many CSOs representing ethnic groups worried that customary land rights and dispute resolution practices were not adequately addressed. It should be noted that both sides seemed to agree that the principle of Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) would be applied to the Land Use Policy.