MCRB Expresses Concern About the Impact on Responsible Investment of the Amendments to the Virgin, Vacant and Fallow Lands Law
MCRB has sent a letter (in EN and MM) to the Chair of the National Land Use Council, and the Chair of the Vacant Fallow and Virgin (VFV) Land Management Central Committee, copied to relevant Pyidaungsu Hluttaw bodies, expressing concerns that the rapid implementation of the amended VFV Lands Management Law (adopted in 2018) which requires those currently using VFV land without Central Committee permission to apply for a permit by March 2019, will cause significant problems for investors seeking to operate responsibly in Myanmar.
MCRB shares many of the concerns raised in similar letters from farmers organisations, civil society organisations and NGOs about the Amended VFV Law and its accelerated implementation. Land has constantly been identified by the responsible investors with whom MCRB works as their biggest human rights/due diligence risk. This is due to uncertainty around land ownership and unquantified liabilities due to the legacies of land acquisition undertaken at the expense of land users’ human rights. This reduces international companies’ willingness to invest in Myanmar.
Investors have also specifically raised with MCRB their concerns about the implementation of the amended VFV Law, and the further complexity it has introduced for companies seeking to abide by Myanmar law.
MCRB’s letter suggests that implementation of this amended Law should be halted, pending an expert review of its human rights impacts, and that future amendments should be made to bring the VFV Law – and other draft laws related to land - in line with Myanmar’s Covenant obligations and consistent with the 2016 National Land Use Policy.