From 17-19 July 2017 in Yangon, we, the members of Land In Our Hands network- (90) representatives from (48) organizations of each and every State and Region — discussed and analyzed the 16 points Farmland law amendment bill published in The Mirror daily newspaper on 16th June 2017 for public consultation; and have issued the following statement:
1. In our consideration, the existing 2012 Farmland Law and the 2012 Vacant, Fallow, Virgin Land Law have been drafted without meaningful consultation or getting the (informed) opinion and consent of the farmers who are 70% of the population of the country. These laws also have neglected the customary land tenure of ethnic nationalities as well as the important cultural and historical values of land and intended to consider land as a commodity for buying and selling, resulting in further complication and worsening of the current land issues. For example, amending the provisions about seasonal crops can be interpreted as favoring project crops, so we consider these as dangerous amendments. In addition, this law to amend the current farmland law does not comply with and does go against the National Land Use Policy (2016), so we find the amendment law to be a backtracking amendment with the effect of moving backward and undermining the NLUP.
2. Since 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 a rushed and driven one, so the plan to do a consultation for farmland law amendment poses the danger/risk to make current land disputes and issues even more complicated.
3. We strongly object to the fact that this farmland law amendment draft hearing session in the parliament will not gain any effective changes at all, since public-elected parliamentarians have not gone through any activities to listen to the voice, opinions and desires of the farmers and the communities.
4. Essentially, we earnestly demand that the timeframe for public hearing of farmland law amendment draft be modified so that the opinions, perspectives and independent recommendations of the farmers and communities can be incorporated into the farmland law amendment process.
5. We want to meet and discuss our findings and analysis with the parliamentarians prior to any discussion or hearing of farmland law amendment bill.