Ill Fares the Land: Reparations for Housing, Land, and Property Rights Violations in Myanmar

TitleIll Fares the Land: Reparations for Housing, Land, and Property Rights Violations in Myanmar
Annotated RecordNot Annotated
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsDusek A
Secondary TitleHarvard Human Rights Journal
Key themesAccessToJustice, Dispossession-grabbing, Formalisation-titling, Policy-law

International law includes provisions for restitution or compensation for victims of housing, land, and property (HLP) rights violations. Practical challenges remain for addressing violations of HLP rights in transitional societies characterized by the continuation of sporadic, low-intensity conflict or the incompleteness of regime change. The inability to address HLP rights violations in such contexts has resulted in "rights gaps", weaknesses or absences of rule of law resulting in the inability to pursue accountability for those most responsible for violations that further enable the continuation of HLP rights violations under the successor regime. Without respect for HLP rights, practices such as land-grabbing perpetuate conflict, displacement, and illicit trade. Through a review of existing literature on land reform and transitional justice, this article considers complex histories of dispossession, using the case of land-grabbing in Myanmar's Kachin State to consider means of reparation that go beyond land restitution and compensation in transitional societies. The article proposes alternative means of reparation, such as the incorporation of customary land tenure into statutory frameworks and the pursuit of foreign government and corporate accountability, which aim to achieve broader aspirations for victims of land-grabbing and resource-based conflict.


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Journal Article