Restitution in Myanmar: building lasting peace, national rconciliation and economic prosperity through a comprehensive housing, land and property restitution programme

Restitution in Myanmar: building lasting peace, national rconciliation and economic prosperity through a comprehensive housing, land and property restitution programme

The question of housing, land and property (HLP) restitution has received increased attention over the past several years throughout Myanmar as the country continues to consolidate recent democratic gains and political reforms. This paper has been prepared in the spirit of paragraph 80 of the 2016 National Land Use Policy which asserts that: “The following priorities shall be carried out  when  implementing  research  initiatives,  capacity  building  activities,  educational  programs  and pilot projects: ...(n) Conduct research on best procedures for restitution of rights to land and housing  of  individuals,  households  and  communities  that  had  to  abandon  the  area  where  they  previously  resided  due  to  illegal  land  confiscation,  civil  war,  natural  disasters  or  other  causes.”  Both  Displacement  Solutions  and  the  Norwegian  Refugee  Council  are  hopeful  that  the  research  contained  in  the  present  report  is  useful  to  the  government  in  developing  further  initiatives  on  restitution for everyone in the country with an outstanding restitution claim. Several governmental bodies  have  been  established  since  the  outset  of  the  political  reform  process  to  address  some  of  the  outstanding  restitution  claims  based  on  land  confiscation,  various  ethnic  actors  have  adopted policies noting the central importance of restitution within land policies and the ongoing peace  process,  and  increasingly  sophisticated  views  have  been  put  forth  by  various  civil  society  organisations  and  displaced  populations  themselves  on  this  complex  question,  both  within  the  context  of  conflict-induced,  as  well  as  other  forms  of  forced  displacement  and  land  acquisition.  Significantly,  as  many  as  400,000  acres  of  formerly  confiscated  land  has  been  restituted  to  legitimate rights-holders over the past several years, and there is a general sense in many quarters that now is the time to make the principle of restitution a reality for everyone with a valid claim, but who have not yet been able to return to and reclaim their homes and lands.

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