Public information update event for media and other stakeholders

There has been an increasing demand on land and natural resources in recent years. Land and natural resources are getting scarcer due to several reasons including large-scale land concessions to national and foreign investors, environmental degradation, climate change, forestry exploitation, tourism, urbanization and population growth. Such issues are especially relevant in the Mekong Region, where indigenous people, ethnic minorities and other communities rely on their ancestral land and natural resources for their livelihoods without having, however, legal recognition of their customary rights. These communities have a deep connection with their land, which is not only an economic asset – but also a central element for their identity, cultural and spiritual practices. Secure land tenure rights are also closely linked with the enjoyment of fundamental human rights such as the right to an adequate standard of living, health, food and housing – and vital for fulfilling the Agenda 2030 objectives.

Farmers lack awareness of the VFV law and March 11 registration deadline

Sunday March 10, 2019

10am – 12pm at Summit Parkview Hotel, Yangon (9.30am registration)

• Bawi Tha, Mekong Regional Land Governance Project (Research on community knowledge and awareness on the amended VFV law in
Chin, Shan, Kayah, and Thanintharyi)
• Nwe Ni Soe, Namati (Results of a survey of farmers depending on VFV Land in Rakhine, Karen, Shan and Magwe)
• Than Than Aye, Earth Rights International (examples from lawyers’ networks)
• Thyn Zar Oo, Public Legal Aid Network (The Plan) (Situation on the ground/cases and updates from communities)
• Other stakeholders may also share evidence of the on-the-ground realities of VFV Law implementation

Background- Millions of farmers/communities on 45 million acres of land at risk of land grabs. 
Monday, March 11 is the end of the 6-month period given to farmers and communities who use and farm on land the government has classified as “vacant, fallow and virgin land” (VFV Land ). By Monday, according to the amended law, they should have either applied for a VFV permit, or they become trespassers on their land. They may also try to gain an exception if they can prove they are on customary land, but this process lacks legal definition or precedent.

In November, civil society groups, NGOs, INGOs and many other stakeholders warned the government that the Amended VFV Law driving this registration process was flawed, unimplementable, and would cause conflict, dispossession and confusion .

Four months later, on the eve of the deadline, early evidence is emerging of the reality on the ground that confirms some of the initial fear. The panel speakers above and other stakeholders will share their evidence of early results of the implementation on this controversial law.

This information session aims to provide evidence to inform public discussion and policy making in managing the challenges created by the Amended VFV Law. After the presentation, there will be a chance for questions to be answered by the panelists.

Please register for this event with and
Cell: 09420128389 (Myanmar)

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