Fruitful success in a target village of a three-year project

Naung Ann FGD

A fruitful success story from Naung Ann Village, Naung Ann Village Tract, Kyaukme District, Northern Shan State.

 

The Villagers of Naung Ann village had for a long time suffered the effects of land grabbing and conflict in the form of occupational instability, depression, and fear. Then, beginning in 2018, they developed a broader perspective from BadeiDha Moe’s awareness training on land law, gender, and peace.

 

Local farmers need the opportunity to learn about what evidence is necessary to prevent a person or organization from illegally grabbing the land that they work on, and according to BadeiDha Moe’s field mentoring trips, they came to understand well about this. After attending the training, and from meeting with BadeiDha Moe, they could move forwards and had full confidence in themselves to hold meetings with respective government officials.

 

Land Briefing Participants Group Photo

As well as this, at a Land Briefing held in 2018 by BadeiDha Moe at One Love Hotel in Kyauk Me, Members of Parliament, government officials, Labourers, Farmers, Youth affair committees, political parties, and ethnic armed organizations participated and discussed with the Naung Ann farmers about land grabbing in their village. Then, as a result, the army formerly located in Naung Ann village agreed to return 200 acres of farmland, of the 500 acres of grabbed land, to the villagers. Following this, in 2020, they received the celebratory news that 20 households in Naung Ann village had accessed Farmland ownership Form 7.

 

About eight months ago, we got back the land, not all of it; 20 households have received Form 7. This is because of BadeiDha Moe’s open-mind. I attended the land briefing, and I am thankful for benefitting from the opportunity to present as a farmer.

Naung Ann FGD
FGD in Naung Ann Village

Since then, the Naung Ann villagers’ fears based on ethnic, and linguistic disunity; and power disparities have reduced and they have become so strong that they can negotiate with government departments themselves. Of the land grabbing affected farmers, the 60% who have had land returned are collectively the remaining 40% to get back their land. This is one of the fruitful success of BadeiDha Moe’s project, supported by the Joint Peace Fund, in a village of Northern Shan State.

Land Analysis Paper

 

BadeiDha Moe (BDM) has been working for over ten years in conflict-affected ethnic areas of Myanmar, including parts of Kachin State, Mon State, Southern Shan State, and Northern Shan State. In line with our organization’s focus on incorporating land and natural resource concerns into community harmonization, we have been educating, documenting, and advocating on the land and natural resource issues affecting communities in these areas. Our project includes providing land, gender & peace training to community members, documenting land disputes, and presenting land disputes to key stakeholders in the peace process. The goal of this work is to integrate the resolution of land disputes into the ongoing peace process in Myanmar.

This analysis paper exposes the reality of land disputes at the community-level in four conflict-affected ethnic minority regions of Myanmar, as part of a broader strategy to inform the national peace process. It presents the real on-the-ground situation of land conflicts, the communities’ perspectives, and identifies factors that facilitate amicable resolution. It is our hope that the presentation of the issues will strengthen processes for land dispute resolution and highlight the need for prioritizing land tenure issues within the country’s ongoing peace talks towards national reconciliation.

Our organization collected the data and produced this analysis paper whilst the Myanmar government and a number of Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) engaged in a series of discussions commonly referred to as the 21st Century Panglong. One of the stated objectives of these discussions is ‘To establish in conformity with the political dialogue a union based on federalism fully ensuring the rights to national equality and self-determination. The current negotiations directed at achieving peace in Myanmar are, like similar negotiations in other contexts, highly complex. Many of the issues included in this process interlink with the prosperity of these people, the most notable being the need to address their claims to land.