Ob­jec­tion to farm­land law changes draft bill

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - News - SU PHYO WIN su­phy­owin@mm­times.com

AL­MOST 50 Civil So­ci­ety Groups strongly ob­jected to the facts re­lated to the Farm­land Law amend­ment draft hear­ing ses­sion in the par­lia­ment held in June.

Land In Our Hand (LIOH) net­work, re­leased a state­ment on July 19 and held a press con­fer­ence on July 23 in Yan­gon on 2012 Farm­land Law Amend­ment Bill to be dis­cussed in par­lia­ment.

The state­ment high­lighted that since the cur­rent laws have been de­vel­oped without the con­sent of the farm­ers and com­mu­ni­ties, they do not pro­vide pro­tec­tion for land ten­ure and so­cial se­cu­rity of the farm­ers.

This process of re­form­ing the cur­rent laws in turn has been rushed and driven one, so the plan to carry out con­sul­ta­tion for farm­land law amend­ment poses the risk to make cur­rent land dis­putes and is­sues even more com­pli­cated, ac­cor­rd­ing to LIOH.

U Si Thu, sec­re­tary of LIOH said the ex­ist­ing 2012 Farm­land Law and the 2012 Va­cant, Fal­low, Vir­gin land Law have been drafted without con­sul­ta­tion or get­ting the in­formed opin­ion and con­sent of the farm­ers.

“The def­i­ni­tion of farmer it­self is not said to be fair in the law. It is drawn to profit cronies or pri­vate com­pa­nies rather than fo­cus­ing on small-scale farm­ers.

“Amend­ing the pro­vi­sions about sea­sonal crops can be in­ter­preted as favour­ing project crops, so we con­sider these as dan­ger­ous amend­ments. The amend­ment does not com­ply with and go against the Na­tional Land Use Pol­icy 2016,” he said.

The Farm­land Law amend­ment bill was pub­lished in the state­downed pa­per on June 16 for pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion.

Union Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture, Live­stock and Ir­ri­ga­tion said in early Fe­bru­ary that to re­solve dis­putes over con­fis­cated lands and to stream­line the process of re­turn­ing them to the right­ful own­ers, the Union gov­ern­ment will amend two land-re­lated laws.

From July 17 to 19, mem­bers of the LIOH net­work – 90 rep­re­sen­ta­tives from 48 or­gan­i­sa­tions from each state and re­gion dis­cussed and an­a­lysed the 16 points bill pub­lished and later is­sue the state­ment.

The civil so­ci­ety or­gan­i­sa­tions are call­ing for the Farm­land Law amend­ment draft be mod­i­fied and dis­cuss the find­ings of three-day work­shop with the par­lia­men­tar­i­ans prior to any dis­cus­sion of Farm­land law amend­ment bill.

David Khin Zaw, rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Doe Myay Peo­ple Devel­op­ment Net­work (Ton­tay, Yan­gon Re­gion) told The Myan­mar Times that if the land law de­vi­ates from its orig­i­nal ob­jec­tive and does not re­flect the ground re­al­ity, it will then be a big loss for the econ­omy.

“If the farm­ers are not pro­tected with ef­fec­tive land laws, the re­lated agri busi­ness will also face losses. That will have a huge im­pact on the coun­try’s GDP,” he said.

U Si Thu said if the gov­ern­ment fails to re­sponse to the net­work’s de­mands, LIOH net­work will carry out tough cam­paigns to pro­tect farm­ers’ rights.

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