Restitution in Myanmar: Building Lasting Peace, National Reconciliation 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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