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Development Without Us: Village Agency and Land Confiscations in Southeast Myanmar

Ten years since our report on ‘Village Agency: Rural Rights and Resistance in Militarised Karen State’, KHRG’s agency approach is as important as ever to understanding the experiences of local communities in Southeast Myanmar. Instead of focusing on the ways in which villagers are victimised and left vulnerable by companies and government authorities, KHRG has decided to focus on how rural communities are using agency to protect themselves from land confiscations and corporate development-related human rights abuses. KHRG defines village agency as the capacity, strategies, and efforts taken by villagers to understand, confront, and prevent human rights abuses. KHRG aims to amplify the different strategies villagers use to defend their land: getting involved in consultation processes, negotiating with private actors, defending their land rights through documentation, sending complaint letters, requesting fair compensation, and organising and attending protests. This report also highlights the factors that can empower or disempower villagers from acting, including access to information, access to decision makers, an understanding of the legal framework, and the ability to project their voices as a community. Today’s land disputes are a threat to long-term peace in Southeast Myanmar, as they increase social and political instability. There is an urgent need for the establishment of a credible legal framework to prevent dispossession, and protect the human and land rights of rural populations. Through this report, KHRG hopes to project the voices of villagers impacted by land confi scations to influence decision makers, private companies and other stakeholders to take a step towards inclusive development.

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Additional Info

Field Value
Document type Reports, journal articles, and research papers (including theses and dissertations)
Language of document
  • English
  • Human rights
  • Land
Geographic area (spatial range)
  • Myanmar
Copyright Yes
Access and use constraints

This report is published by KHRG, © KHRG 2018. All rights reserved. Contents may be reproduced or distributed on a not-for-profi t basis or quotes for media and related purposes, but reproduction for commercial purposes requires the prior permission of KHRG. The fi nal version of this report was originally written in English language and then translated into Karen and Burmese. KHRG refers to the English language report as the authoritative version. This report is not for commercial sale.

Version / Edition 1.1
License unspecified

Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG) Email:

Author (corporate) Karen Human Rights Group
Co-author (coorporate) KHRG
Publication place Myanmar
Publisher Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Publication date 2018
Pagination 124
Keywords Land Grabbing,Conflict,Karen State,Kayin,Protest,Agency
Date uploaded August 30, 2018, 03:50 (UTC)
Date modified April 10, 2021, 16:06 (UTC)