NGO Global Witness has issued a report about the detrimental effects of influential military, political and business personnel involvement in land grabbing in Shan State.
“Guns, Cronies and Crops: How military, political and business cronies conspired to grab land in Myanmar” is the result of an 18-month investigation by Global Witness into a spate of land confiscations in north-eastern Shan State, where the military took land from ethnic minorities and transformed it into rubber plantations, according to a press release received on March 26.
The land confiscations were carried out under the orders of the North East Regional Command, headed at the time by U Myint Hlaing, Myanmar’s current Minister of Agriculture.
Guns, Cronies and Crops details how the land was then transferred to a chaotic mix of private companies, militia groups, MPs and political parties, and looks closely at the operations of a private company alleged to be the biggest land grabber for rubber in northeastern Shan.
As the country designs a new national land law – the first codified framework for land in Myanmar – Global Witness is urging the government to address past social injustices including those carried out by the North East Regional Command and the company. The government must also halt the current wave of large-scale land investments, and prioritise and protect Myanmar’s smallholder farmers.