Myanmar: ICJ workshop on Land Acquisition and Resettlement in Kyauk Phyu, Rakhine State

Hosted on 3-4 December, the event was attended by a total of 40 participants which includes representatives of CSOs, lawyers, MPs and village track administrators.

The workshop aimed to raise awareness of international standards and best practice of resettlement and development-based eviction and displacement among local community in order to mitigate potential adverse impact associated with the development of the Kyauk Phyu Special Economic Zone.

In the opening, Dr Daniel Aguirre, ICJ International Legal Adviser, outlined the essential role of lawyers and community members in safeguarding human rights and holding the State and investors accountable.

The discussion was led by international experts and experienced and committed leaders of Civil Society Organization.

Susanna Price from Australian National University highlighted key principles of the ADB’s Involuntary Resettlement Policy along with experiences from China, Cambodia and Indonesia.

U Hayman Oo, ICJ Legal Researcher, explained how the UN principles on Development-based Eviction and Displacement are applicable in the context of Myanmar and urged the participants to use these standards for their advocacy work.

U Myo Mrat Hein, the Director and lawyer of the Thazin Legal Aid Group, discussed important issues surrounding the national land acquisition legislation whilst Sean Bain, legal consultant at the ICJ give a brief overview of important provisions of the Myanmar SEZ Law (2014).

The other two guest local speakers shared their first-hand experiences of advocacy work and resettlement issues which occurred during the development of Dawai and Thilawa SEZ respectively.

Participants exchanged strategies and ideas to take preparatory steps to mitigate potential impacts of the KPSEZ in terms of protecting their economic, social and cultural rights, learning from Dawei and Thilawa, as well as from international standards which Myanmar recognizes.

The new Kyauk Phyu SEZ Management Committee, along with Dawai and Thilawa, was formed last month with over 30 members including international and local social and environmental experts.

In a meeting held in Nay Pyi Taw following the establishment of the SEZ Management Committee, Daw Aung San Su Kyi emphasized that the current three SEZs of the country are leading projects for Myanmar’s economic growth.

She also expressed concerns over the potential negative effect of these zones if not properly implemented.

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