NGOs in Myanmar call for EU agreement proposal to be scrapped

29 June 2016
NGOs in Myanmar call for EU agreement proposal to be scrapped
European Union office in Yangon, Myanmar.  Photo: Nyein Chan Naing/EPA

The European Union has requested an investment protection agreement with Myanmar which is being criticized by local NGOs in the country, according to a report on the ScandAsia website on 28 June. The report said that the agreement was intended to secure investors from the EU in case of dispute so the dispute could be raised in an international court of law.
Local NGOs say that disputes about legal rights to land is a serious issue. Every year, thousands of Myanmar citizens lose the right to land they and their families have been working on for decades when local authorities sell their land to rich local people or to multinational corporations investing in the country.
The NGOs think the land title situation in Myanmar should be solved by strengthening the local people’s rights rather than elevating disputes about EU investors land to international courts outside of the country.
Some 223 of Myanmar’s NGOs have written to the EU’s trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström asking her to scrap the agreement, the report said.