Civil Society Organizations’ Open Letter to LIFT for its call for proposal “REAL DEV”

Land in Our Hands (LIOH) and Myanmar Alliance for Transparency & Accountability (MATA) jointly send the open letter to LIFT regarding its recently launched call for proposal “REAL DEV Programme”; today in 24 December 2018.

24 December 2018

Land in Our Hands (LIOH) and Myanmar Alliance for Transparency & Accountability (MATA) jointly send the open letter to LIFT regarding its recently launched call for proposal “REAL DEV Programme”; today in 24 December 2018.

On 14 December 2018, LIFT (Livelihoods and Food Security Trust Fund) has launched a REAL DEV programme that invites partner agencies to work with the Government on land reclamation and reallocation in Magway, to develop a replicable approach and framework for reallocating State land reclaimed from concessionary holders to the rural poor, landless, and others; according to its website and facebook page.

Since the government adopted the Vacant, Fallow & Virgin Land Management Law (VFV law) in 2012, peoples from ethnic areas declared that they don’t have vacant, fallow & virgin land but the ancestral lands they have been living, using & managing for centuries. And many civil society organizations asked the government to abolish the VFV law. Although NLD government initiated to amend this law in 2017, it becomes worse – criminalizing the peoples defending their lands and setting the time for registering the lands. Land in Our Hands is continuously supporting for federal land government and customary practices; thus calling to abolish the VFV law. During May, LIOH released a statement at national level reckoning the voices from different states & regions. That workshop and statement is representing over 1,600 peoples and over 400 civil society organizations across the country.

Despite these continuous public oppositions, the Government adopted the amendments to VFV in September 2018. Thus, LIOH launched the campaign against VFV law and also released a joint statement. The statement is endorsed by 346 local organizations. The international community is also supporting the movement of LIOH and issued the concern letter recently.

At this fragile moment, LIFT called proposals for its programme above-mentioned. Although LIFT says “LIFT’s programme is relevant and responsible – perhaps even more so at this time than before”, it is lacking the political sensitivity around land rights and peace building process as wider impacts. In this regards, LIOH & MATA prepared and sent an open letter to LIFT calling to suspend the call for proposals and reassess its operations in Myanmar in accordance with its 12 conflict sensitivity principles.

Open letter to LIFT: (English) (Burmese)

International Community Issued Statement of Concern on VFV

In December 2018, international community issued the statement of concern to express solidarity with grassroots campaign against VFV in Myanmar and called for petition.

Please visit the official petition site or see the letter here.

TNI’s Commentary on VFV in Myanmar

A Commentary by TNI (Transnational Institute)

The recently adopted amendment by parliament to the 2012 Vacant, Fallow and Virgin Lands Management Law (VFV Law) has immediate, deep and far-reaching implications for many millions of rural working people in Myanmar, especially in ethnic nationality regions. The new law has also serious, negative consequences for the country’s development and the transition towards democracy, and ultimately for the prospects for a lasting peace in Myanmar. Read full commentary here.

Civil Societies’ statement on VFV law is now available in 6 languages

In response to the recently adopted the Vacant, Fallow & Virgin Land Management law  (VFV law) – despite the continuous public opposition, the civil society organizations in Myanmar released a joint statement as part of larger public campaign. The statement called to abolish the VFV law, to respect customary land management practices and to ensure the process of law making for federal land law with full & meaningful participation. The statement was endorsed by 346 local organizations (within 2 day).

The Statement is now available in 6 languages:

Soon after the statement was released on 16 November 2018, the United Nationalities Alliance (ethnic political party) & its sister organizations, the Karen National Union (Taungngu District), internally displaced persons from Kachin & Northern Shan State, Karenni Land Forum and Kayan Organizations have issued similar statements.


90 Days to go (Say “NO” to VFV)

. . . countless number of innocent citizens and ethnic nationals . . . could be prosecuted & humiliated with lawsuits . . .

11 December 2018

LIOH campaign for land, peace and democracy moves into high gear after government adoption of the Vacant, Fallow & Virgin Land Management Law that imposes countless number of farmers, ethnic peoples & IDPs to become landless and criminals.

On 11 November 2018, LIOH has launched a countdown campaign on social media; alerting that countless number of innocent citizens and ethnic nationals who are making a living on more than 45 million acres of land could be prosecuted & humiliated with lawsuits because of the unjust “Vacant, Fallow & Virgin Land Management Law (VFV Law)”.  Today, the campaign is already one-month-duration and only 90 days remain to reach deadline.

LIOH launched this campaign together with its strategic alliance MATA (Myanmar Alliance for Transparency & Accountability). The call of this campaign is –

  • Abolishing the VFV Law
  • Respecting the customary land management practices those are practicing within ethnic communities
  • The process of making new federal land law with full and meaningful participation & inclusion of local ethnic peoples from different areas

A Commentary on Vacant, Fallow and Virgin Land Management Law in Myanmar

A Commentary by Jason Gelbort

The Government of Myanmar’s approach to land policy risks increasing land conflicts and exacerbating current challenges in formal peace negotiations. Civil society organizations strongly oppose implementation of the recently-amended Vacant, Fallow and Virgin Land Management Law (VFV Land Law), due to well-founded fears that its implementation will facilitate the displacement of villagers from their ancestral lands and will weaken customary land tenure rights. . . .

Please visit here to read full commentary.

Kayan Statement on the Vacant, Fallow & Virgin Land Management Law

Kayan New Generation Youth (KNGY) together with Kayan National Party (KNP), Kayan Women Organization (KyWO) and Kayan Literature & Culture Central Committee (KLCC) issued a joint statement on the Vacant, Fallow & Virgin Land Management Law (VFV Law). The statement stressed out the VFV law is not protecting and even suppressing the cultural value, characteristics and ownership of ancestral land practices.

Karenni Land Forum released a statement

Karenni Land Forum released a statement on December 5, 2018 highlighting there is no vacant, fallow & virgin land in Karenni (Kayah) State; denouncing the effort to grab the land & impose the Karenni peoples as criminals; and calling to come up a true Federal Land Law & halting the efforts forcing to implement the existing laws before that.

KNU (Taungngoo District) Released the Statement from 6th Assembly

6th Assembly of the KNU released the statement and it mentioned the existing land-related laws especially the Vacant, Fallow & Virgin Land Management Law, are imposing local communities as criminals and affecting the peace making process. (Download the statement in Burmese Language)