The General Strike Committee of Nationalities (GSCN) marched in Yangon as condemnation of the military’s coup d’état and calling the actions towards building the federal democratic union. The Committee represents 18 ethnic groups of Myanmar and the march was joined by over 5,000 peoples including students & young activists.
LIOH endorses the proposal for reform of Myanmar’s oppressive defamation laws. The proposal is launched by FEM to end years of oppressive, anti-democratic, and scandalous criminal cases under 66(d) and Myanmar’s five other defamation laws. It includes four options: adopting a civil defamation law, adding stronger defenses to the Penal Code, removing all prison sentences, and limiting cases to deliberate and serious defamation only.
The Vacant-Fallow-Virgin Land Management Law originated from the vacant-fallow-virgin land management notification issued in 1991 by the State Law and Order Restoration Council (Military government) for the purpose of commoditizing land and to attract investments both for local & international businesses. It is also the notification set-up for facilitating land grabbing.
The government after 2010 general election continued to legitimize the previous land grabbing and human rights violations by transforming that notification into law in 2012. The law come out by direct order of MOALI Minister and without involvement of civil societies and land rights expertise. The Vacant-Fallow-Virgin Land Management Law 2012 (VFVL) meant to ease land grabbing under economic development and to be a tool for expanding land grabbing towards ethnic peoples’ area where armed conflicts are making difficult for confiscation.
The companies those are willing to invest, according to VFVL, can get the land up to 30,000 acres for 30 years (Section 10). The VFVL can be used to sue the farmers under encroachment (Section 27) and under disturbance (Section 28) which also enables the use of police forces for suppression.
Vacant-fallow-virgin land can be transformed into farmland (Section 34), allowing the land as collateral and commodity for leasing, mortgaging & selling (Farmland Law Section 9). That is challenging and undermining the livelihoods and live making of farmers however favoring the local & foreign business owners.
VFVL & the Farmland Law pressures individual land titling (to apply for land use certificate) that threatens rural agrarian societies where the peoples’ lives, cultural & customary practices, cropping patterns and ecologies are interconnected and inter-dependent. It challenges the presence of communal areas, culturally heritage areas and customary land management systems. And it makes permanent land loss for IDPs.
VFVL amendments were proposed during 2017 and adopted on 11 September 2018. The amendments criminalize both farmers and people who are helping farmers defending their lands. It even sets the short deadline for individual land titling – anyone using the so-called-VFV land without permission is liable for penalties either fine or imprisonment or both.
So-called VFV land, according to Land Statistics Department, are mostly from ethnic areas and 45 million acres of them (out of 50 million acres) remains unregistered. It’s not practical to grant land titling for such a huge amount of land within short period of time and there are many experiences of farmers who never get reply and traceable for their application status since many years ago. Though, the credibility of the land use certificate (legally granted) is also questionable according to previous researches. Nevertheless, uncountable farmers become criminals by the law since 11 March 2019.
LIOH believes self-determination, federal land governance and the peoples’ rights to land are the only means for peace and social justice. Good management practices are already existed amongst communities and indigenous peoples. Ethnic land policies, customary land tenure systems and community-led & managed projects have been in place – and yet to be recognized. There is a need of federal land law that is processed democratically and safeguards the rights of land of smallholder farmers, small scale land users, ethnic peoples, landless peoples an IDPs. The transition to federal land law needs to freeze the implementation of existing land-related laws; to avoid land intensive mega projects (including agri-businesses); to ensure resolution of land conflicts; and to abolish the most dangerous VFVL.
Reference: Sylvia Mallari, PCFS Global
Co-chairperson – firstname.lastname@example.org
the 2012 VFV Law in Burma!
a genuinely pro-people land reform policy!
Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS) joins the international clamor demanding
the repeal of the 2012 Vacant, Fallow, and Virgin (VFV) Lands Management Law in
inception, the VFV Land Management Law has been used to facilitate large-scale
landgrabs throughout Burma. It denies the Burmese rural peoples, which compose 70% of the
their customary and communal land rights by declaring all lands without
official land titles as “vacant, fallow, and virgin,” in order to
herald these lands for use of domestic and foreign investment. This has long been disputed in the country, yet the government of Burma has opted
to bolster the law to fast track the turnover of these lands to corporate
The law was
amended in September 2018, requiring land tillers to register for land use
permits with 30-year validity within six months. Deadline lapsed on March 11,
and now more than 20 million hectares of land – a third of Burma’s total land
area – have become subjected to private interests. About 75% of the “VFV” lands
are territories of ethnic minorities. And considering that 95% of the VFV land residents surveyed a month
before the deadline of registration had no knowledge of the law, majority of the people in these areas
are subject to penalties up to 500,000 kyats (US $328) of fine and/or two years
in jail for “trespassing” the lands they customarily owned.
PCFS slams the
Aung San Suu Kyi-led Burma government for pushing this law and its
impracticable amendments – a far cry from its promise of protecting the land
rights of farmers. In fact, the VFV law was made stricter. Four years since NLD
broke the country’s military junta, the government has opted to abide with the
trends on land policies perpetuated by international and development finance
institutions that undermine food sovereignty and deny the land rights of
farmers and Indigenous Peoples. No plan to amend the law or even the constitution will be able to resolve landlessness in
Burma if the development framework is to “draw more investment.”
PCFS is one with the rural peoples of Burma in calling for the repeal of the 2012 VFV Land Management Law. We call our members, networks, and fellow food sovereignty advocates to support the struggle of the rural peoples in Burma in defense of their ancestral lands and natural resources! ###
Palaung State Liberation Front (PSLF) / Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) released a statement on the Vacant, Fallow & Virgin Land Management Law (VFVL) on 11th March 2019. The statement is claiming that the peoples living & making lives on the land are the original owner of the land thus no need to use the VFVL; reminding the peoples from Ta’ang area to claim back the lands grabbed previously; promising PSLF/TNLA would uphold land policy that protect the community from losing land and would take actions against those any individual or organization attempting to grab the land from its people.
The Peace Process Steering Team (PPST) of Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement Signatory – Ethnic Armed Organizations (NCA-S EAO) released a statement from its special meeting (03/2019) happened during 5-7 March, 2019. The statement urged to review & amend the Vacant, Fallow & Virgin Land Management Law (VFVL) accordingly as it is opposing democracy norms and federal principles; and to stop enacting similar laws in the future.
Ethnic literature & cultural development organizations held a workshop reviewing the Vacant, Fallow & Virgin Land Management Law (VFVL) in Lashio of Shan State (Northern Shan). Together with Kachin, Ta-ang & Shan Literature & Culture Development Organizations, 62 participants representing 25 organizations participated in this workshop happened during March 5, 2019. A statement come out from that workshop demanding to cancel the VFVL, to recognize customary tenure practices and to ensure the land restitution for displaced persons by armed conflicts.
Chin Land Affairs Network (CLAN) released a statement on the Vacant, Fallow & Virgin Land Management Law (VFVL) after its executive members’ meeting and land law review workshop happened during 12-13 of February, 2019.