Expression of Solidarity with Grassroots Campaign Against VFV in Myanmar

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Statement of Concern
About the Vacant-Fallow-Virgin (VFV) Land Management Law in Myanmar – and -- Expression of Solidarity with the Grassroots Campaign Against It

We are individuals who come from various international institutions, academic disciplines, intellectual traditions, political communities, and institutional platforms. We have worked on social justice oriented land issues in various parts of the world.

Our academic and professional work is guided by some kind of moral, ethical and political compass: we all adhere to a notion of ‘agrarian justice’, a sense of fairness, especially for those who have, for a long time, been marginalized economically, socially and politically: small farmers, landless rural workers, pastoralists, forest dwellers, artisanal fishers, internally displaced peoples and refugees; men and women, youth and children.

We believe that no one should lose their access to natural resources (land, water, forest) just because they are less able to prove, legally and formally, their rightful and just claim over such access – relative to the competing claims made by other powerful elites or the government. We believe that fairer and more democratic redistribution, recognition and restitution of land rights to the rural poor are key to peace-building processes.

This is the reason why we are deeply concerned about the Vacant, Fallow and Virgin (VFV) Land Management Law in Myanmar. We support the right of rural villagers and their allies among civil society groups to criticize and oppose the VFV Law passed in 2012 as something that facilitated widespread land dispossession of rural population, especially of poor ethnic minorities, as well as internally displaced peoples and refugees. We are deeply concerned that the revised version of the 2012 VFV Law, dated September 2018, made the law even worse as it can potentially and very likely facilitate or legitimize further dispossession, could undermine serious attempts at peace-building, and is likely to criminalize rural poor people's land claims.

Thus, we support the voices of rural villagers, internally displaced peoples and refugees and their allies among civil society groups resisting the VFV Land Law – and their right to exercise their civil and political rights to resist without threat of retribution.

We support not only the call spearheaded by two national coalitions of grassroots groups, Land In Our Hands (LIOH) Alliance and Myanmar Alliance for Transparency and Accountability (MATA) to abolish the VFV Land Law – but even more importantly, their demand for the national government to pursue a social justice oriented land reform based on the principles of land redistribution, recognition and restitution. We also support the grassroots demand for guaranteeing the fundamental right of rural villagers and their allies to demand democratic representation and accountability with the Myanmar government in the process of their protesting against the VFV Land Law.

With reference to key documents and resources, including:

(1) See Joint Statement by Land In Our Hands (LIOH) and MATA on the VFV Land Law:

(2) Commentary by Transnational Institute (TNI):

(3) IDP Expression of Concern and "Voice of the IDPs":

December 2018

Signed by:

James C. Scott
Yale University, USA

Chayan Vaddhanaphuti
Chiang Mai University, Thailand

Eduardo C. Tadem
University of the Philippines

Ma. Victoria R. Raquiza
University of the Philippines

John McCarthy
Australian National University

Sofía Monsalve Suárez
FIAN International, Germany

Christian Lund
University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Philip Hirsch
University of Sydney and Chiang Mai University

Ian Scoones
IDS, University of Sussex, UK

Ben Cousins
PLAAS, University of the Western Cape, South Africa

Kasper Hoffmann
University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Oliver Pye
Bonn University, Germany

Takeshi Ito
Sophia University, Japan

Frank Seemann
SOA, University of Bonn, Germany

Patricio N. Abinales
University of Hawaii-Manoa, USA

Ida Theilade
University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Andries du Toit
University of the Western Cape, South Africa

Helene Kyed
DIIS, Denmark

Rosalie Kingwill
PLAAS, University of the Western Cape, South Africa

Olivier de Schutter
UCLouvain, Belgium

Thorsten Treue
University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Lotte Isager
University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Wendy Harcourt
International Institute of Social Studies EUR, Netherlands

Laura Kmoch
Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden
Mauro Conti
Centro Internazionale Crocevia, Italy

Teresa S. Encarnacion Tadem
University of the Philippines

Mnqobi Ngubane
PLAAS, University of the Western Cape, South Africa

Martin Rudbeck Jepsen
University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Suriya Smuthkupt
Chiang Mai University, Thailand

Malee Sitthikriangkrai
Chiang Mai University, Thailand

Veng Seang Hai
Chiang Mai University, Thailand

Chainarong Sethachua
Mahasarakam University, Thailand

Saturnino M. Borras Jr.
International Institute of Social Studies, Netherlands

Barry Gills
University of Helsinki, Finland

Sérgio Sauer
University of Brasília (UnB), Brazil

Franciney Carreiro de França

Roy Huijsmans
International Institute of Social Studies, Netherlands

Christina Grein
Burma-Initiative, Stiftung Asienhaus, Germany

Franklin Obeng-Odoom
University of Helsinki, Finland

Claire Burgess
University of Melbourne, Australia

Mikko Pyhälä
Ambassador emeritus, Helsinki

Leonilde Medeiros
Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro -Brazil

Lorenzo Cotula
International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), United Kingdom

Janaína Diniz
University of Brasília (UnB), Brazil

Regina Coelly F. Saraiva
University of Brasília (UnB), Brazil

Moenieba Isaacs
PLAAS, University of Western Cape, South Africa

Lidia Cabral
Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, United Kingdom

Antoinette Raquiza
University of the Philippines

Karla Emmanuela Ribeiro Hora
Federal University of Goiás (UFG), Brazil
Esteve Corbera
Institute of Environmental Science and Technology, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain

Sena Galazzi Lian
SOAS, University of London

Badrul Alam
Bangladesh Krishok Federation

Pierre Rousset
Europe solidaire sans frontières (ESSF), France

Shalmali Guttal
Focus on the Global South

Mads Barbesgaard
Lund University, Sweden

Jaran Ditapichai
Mira Käkönen
University of Helsinki, Finland

Mesbahuddin Ahmed

Jatiyo Sramik Jote, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Newton Narciso Gomes Jr
University of Brasília (UnB), Brazil

Raj Patel
University of Texas at Austin, USA

Antonino Quaranta
Mani e Terra - SOS Rosarno, Italy

Gitte Pedersen

Bonn Juego
University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Hasan Mehedi
CLEAN (Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network), Bangladesh

Murat Arsel
International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands

Mahbub Alam Prince
Bangladesh Working Group on External Debt (BWGED)

Carol Hunsberger
The University of Western Ontario, Canada

Naseegh Jaffer
Masifundise - South Africa

Arnim Scheidel
Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain

Jan Douwe van der Ploeg
Wageningen University, the Netherlands

Lyla Mehta
Institute of Development Studies, UK

Christophe Golay
Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, Switzerland

Henk Oostindie
Wageningen University, the Netherlands
Tran thi Hoa
Culture Identity & Resources Use Management, Vietnam

Sylvia Mallari
People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS) - Global

Gutu Olana Wayessa
University of Helsinki, Finland

Juscelino Eudâmidas Bezerra
University of Brasília, Brazil

Laurence Roudart
Université libre de Bruxelles, Belgium

Urantsooj Gombosuren
Centre for Human Rights and Development, Mongolia

Isabelle Desportes
International Institute of Social Studies, Netherlands

Keshab Khadka
Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal

Ulrich Delius
Society for Threatened Peoples, Germany

Vijendra Aznabi
Oxfam India, India

Tsegaye Moreda
International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands

Tania Li
University of Toronto, Canada

Koichi Ikegami
Kindai University, Japan

Arturo Escobar
U. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA

Michael Levien
Johns Hopkins University, USA

Priscilla Claeys
Coventry University, UK

Marc Edelman
Hunter College & Graduate Center, City University of New York, USA

Jose Carlos Silva Macher
Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú

Joel Andreas
Johns Hopkins University, USA

Oane Visser
International Institute of Social Studies, Netherlands

Dr. Jampel Dell’Angelo
VU University Amsterdam - Institute for Environmental Studies, Netherlands

Birgit Daiber
The Common Good of Humanity Network

Chris Chase-Dunn
University of California-Riverside, USA

Peter Rosset
ECOSUR, Mexico
Paul Hebinck University of Fort Hare, Alice, South Africa

Annie Shattuck
University of Colorado, Boulder, USA

Ian Robinson
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, USA

Haroon Akram-Lodhi
Trent University, Peterborough, Canada

Catherine Badgley
University of Michigan, USA

Derek Hall
Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada

Rodolphe De Koninck
Université de Montréal, Canada

Wendy Wolford
Cornell University, USA

Nnimmo Bassey
Health of Mother Earth Foundation, Nigeria

Sahan S. Karatasli
University of North Carolina, Greensboro, USA

Amparo Miciano
National Rural Women Coalition, Philippines (PKKK/NRWC)

Devjit Nandi
All India Forum of Forest Movement (AIFFM)-India

Jesse Ribot
American University, New York University and CUNY, USA

Kwami D. Kpondzo
Oilwatch Togo / Les Amis de la Terre - Togo

Ellen Reese
University of California, Riverside, USA

Vishwas Satgar
University of Witwatersrand, South Africa

Irene Sotiropoulou
Independent Researcher

Juliana Merçon
Universidad Veracruzana, Mexico

Shahra Razavi
Research & Data, UN Women, New York, USA

Nikita Sud
University of Oxford, UK

Pablo Dominguez Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France

Herman Kumara
National Fisheries Solidarity Movement, Sri Lanka

Samantha Agarwal
Johns Hopkins University, USA

Ville-Veikko Hirvelä
New Wind, Finland

Deborah Delgado
Catholic University of Peru
Gerardo Alatorre
La Asamblea Veracruzana de Iniciativas y Defensa Ambiental (LAVIDA), Mexico

Sergio Schneider
UFRGS, Brazil - Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul

Molly Anderson
Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT USA

Émilie Pradichit
Manushya Foundation, Thailand

Daniel Hayward
Chiang Mai University, Mekong Land Research Forum

Isabelle Ferreras
FNRS/University of Louvain, Belgium

Nicolas Sersiron
Comité abolition dettes illégitimes France

Dominique Caouette
Université de Montréal, Canada

Julien-Francois Gerber
International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands

Vidya Dinker
INSAF (Indian Social Action Forum), India

Nataša Crnković
Centar za životnu sredinu/ Friends of the Earth Bosnia and Herzegovina

Jean-Christophe Diepart
University of Liege (Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech) and Mekong Region Land Governance project, Belgium

Annelies Zoomers
LANDac and Utrecht University, Netherlands

Silvia Ribeiro
ETC Group, Mexico

Anabela Lemos
JA!Justica Ambiental/FOE Mozambique

Jefferson Fox East-West Center, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

Stacy Philpott
University of California, Santa Cruz, USA

Michael Dwyer
University of Colorado, Boulder, USA

Kathleen McAfee
San Francisco State University, USA

Nina Holland
Corporate Europe Observatory

Etienne Verhaegen
UCLouvain, Belgium

Larry Lohmann
The Corner House, United Kingdom

Zachary Levenson
University of North Carolina, Greensboro, USA
Antonio Roman-Alcala
International Institute of Social Studies, Netherlands

Mark Vicol
University of Sydney, Australia

M. Jahi Chappell
Coventry University, UK

Eric Holt-Gimenez
Institute for Food and Development Policy, USA

Moisés Balestro
University of Brasilia, Brazil

Colum Graham
Australian National University

E. N. Anderson
University of California, Riverside, USA

Nadine Reis
University of Bonn, Germany

Hasmet Uluorta
Trent University, Peterborough, Canada

Sara Berry
Johns Hopkins University, USA

Sally Sargeson
Australian National University

Dang Bao Nguyet
Center for Research and Promotion of Sustainable Development, Vietnam

Christopher Bacon Santa Clara University, USA

Philip McMichael
Cornell University, USA

Lin Valenzuela MenOKdez
Fundacion Guillermo Toriello, Guatemala

El Hadji Thierno CISSE
Conseil National de Concertation et de Coopération des Ruraux, Sénégal

Miles Kenney-Lazar
National University of Singapore

L.M. Pearce
Vanderbilt University, USA

Alastair Iles
University of California at Berkeley, USA

Maywa Montenegro
University of California at Davis, USA

Farah Sevilla
Eang Vuthy
Equitable Cambodia, Cambodia
Mariaelena Huambachano
California State University, Northridge, USA
Valter Lúcio de Oliveira
Federal University Fluminense (UFF), Brasil

Anne-Sophie Gindroz
Saifana Organic Farm, Indonesia

Charlie Thame
Thammasat University, Thailand

Mat Gonzales
Rights and Resources Initiative, USA

Zeena Bello Manglinong
Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippines

Vinod Koshti
Indian People’s Theatre Association, India

Saskia Sassen
Columbia University, USA

Jennifer C. Franco
Transnational Institute, Netherlands

Susan Kuehn, Independent Researcher

Ben McKay, University of Calgary, Canada

Arpita Lulla, Kalpavriksh, Pune, India

Johanna Jacobi, University of Bern, Switzerland

Lara M. Lundsgaard-Hansen, University of Bern, Switzerland

Corazon Valdez Fabros, International Peace Bureau

Eneko Garmendia, University of the Basque Country, Spain

Rachmi Hertanti
Indonesia for Global Justice, Indonesia

Bina Agarwal
University of Manchester, UK

Sudhir Kumar Suthar
JNU, New Delhi, India

Frédéric Landy
French Institute of Pondicherry, India / University of Paris Nanterre, France

Amita Baviskar
Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi, India

Alfian Helmi
Hokkaido University, Japan
Salai Van Bawi Mang
Chiang Mai University, Thailand

Daniela Andrade, Institute of Social Studies, Netherlands

Shalini Bhutani, Legal Researcher & Policy Analyst, India

Fabiano Escher, College of Humanities and Development Studies of China Agricultural University, China

Preeti Sampat, Ambedkar University Delhi

Stefano Prato, Society for International Development (SID)

Burak Gurel, Koc University, Turkey

Yunan Xu, Institute of Social Studies, Netherlands

Salai Vanni Bawi
Chiang Mai University, Thailand

Amod Shah
International Institute of Social Studies, Netherlands

Sercan Taş
Koç University, Turkey

Aleh Ivanou
Leibniz-Insitut für Länderkunde (IfL), Leipzig

Pablo A. Durán Ch.
Grupo Orgánico de Trabajo Agrario, Colombia

Nora McKeon
International University College Turin, Rome 3 University, Terra Nuova, Italy

Norly Grace Mercado

Barbara VAn Dyck
Sussex University, UK

Ellinor Isgren
Lund University, Sweden

David Harnesk
Lund University, Sweden

Winnie Overbeek
World Rainforest Movement

Justa Hopma
University of Sheffield, UK

Nandini Sundar
Delhi University, India
Ana Victoria Portocarrero
International Institute of Social Studies, Netherlands

Cynthia Embido Bejeno
Internationational Institute of Social Studies, Netherlands

Ossi Ollinaho
University of Helsinki, Finland

Sara Vigil
International Institute of Social Studies, Netherlands

Tanasak Phosrikun
Udon Thani Rajabhat University, Thailand

Sara Mingorría
Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain

Anders Lund Hansen
Lund University, Sweden

Constance Galeo Mogale
Alliance for Rural Democracy c/o Rural Democracy Trust

Emily Tjale
Land Access Movement of South Africa (LAMOSA)

Mankoto Modukanelo
Women Together in Development

Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, India

Natalia Mamonova
The Swedish Institute of International Affairs / Uppsala University, Sweden

Manuel Eggen
FIAN Belgium

Purendra Prasad
University of Hyderabad, India

Gloria Giambartolomei
Coventry University (CAWR) - UK

Anil K. Yadav
National Institute of Labour Economics Research and Development, Delhi, India

Jelson Garcia

Jeongyeol Kim
La Via Campesina, South East and East Asia

Chris Maughan
Coventry University (CAWR) - UK

Pedro Vasconcelos Rocha
Rural Development Graduate Program (PGDR-UFRGS), Brazil

Kristian Stokke
University of Oslo, Norway

Aliya Tuzhilin
Shansi Fellow to Jagori Grameen

Tanay Gandhi
Independent Researcher

Leonardo van den Berg
Toekomstboeren, Netherlands

Ariane Goetz
Independent researcher
Debora Assumpção e Lima
UNICAMP , Brazil

Henry Veltmeyer
Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas, Mexico

Raúl Delgado Wise
Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas, Mexico

Darcy Tetreault
Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas, Mexico

Alice Jandrain
UCLouvain, Belgium

Viol de Guzman
World March of Women

Rodelio N. Ambangan
Mindanao Peoples Peace Movement, Philippines

Sibth Ul Hassan
Awami workers Party, Pakistan

Anne Gassiat
Irstea Bordeaux, France

Alicia Pastor y Camarasa
UCLouvain, Belgium

Solveiga Jaskunas
Rights Resources Institute (RRI), USA

Celine Allaverdian, GRET, France

Jesus David Huertas Linares
Independent Researcher

Rahul Basu
The Future We Need

Mengzheng Yao
University of Delaware, USA

Shaohua Zhan
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Pierre Merlet
Nitlapan-UCA, Nicaragua

Christian Kerschner
Modul University, Vienna, Austria

Emily Yeh
University of Colorado Boulder, USA

Rosanne Rutten
University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Nettie Wiebe
St. Andrew’s College, U of Sask. Canada

Anatoli Ignatov
Appalachian State University, USA

Carlos Passos
University of Brasilia, Brazil

Annette Desmarais
University of Manitoba, Canada

Levi Van Sant
Georgia Southern University, USA

Jessica Ulrich-Schad
South Dakota State University, USA
Philip Nun Uk Thang
Chin State Academic Research Network, Myanmar

Gonzalo Colque
Fundación TIERRA, Bolivia

Martin Persson
Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden

Sergio Coronado
Free University - Berlin, Germany

Dana E. Powell
Appalachian State University, USA

Priya R Chandrasekaran
Princeton University, Princeton, NJ USA

Fernando Eguren
Centro Peruano de Estudios Sociales, CEPES, Lima, Perú

Jackie Smith
University of Pittsburgh, USA

Eric Gutierrez
International Institute of Social Studies, Netherlands

Juliet Lu
University of California, Berkeley, USA

Ryan Nehring
Cornell University, USA

Balsa Lubarda
Central European University, Hungary

Elizabeth Summers
Bank Information Center, USA

Baptiste Hautdidier
Irstea, Bordeaux, France

Kishor K. Podh
Jawaharlal Nehru University, India

Karla Oliveira
University of Brasília, Brazil

Martina Peitz
Länderexpertin Myanmar, Amnesty International, Switzerland

Jacqueline Candau
Irstea, Bordeaux, France

Hilal Elver
UCLA and UC Santa Barbara, California, USA

Alexander Dunlap
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, NL

Elyse Mills
International Institute of Social Studies, Netherlands

Ana Maria R. Nemenzo
DIGNIDAD Coalition, Philippines

Ricardo Barbosa Jr
University of Calgary, Canada

Patrick Ziltener
University of Zurich, Switzerland

Krisna Suryanata
University of Hawaii, USA

Peter Vandergeest
York University, Canada
Jaume Franquesa
University at Buffalo--SUNY , USA

Isaac Rojas
Friends of the Earth International

Andrew Paul
MA Graduate, York University, Canada

Jason W. Moore
Professor, Binghamton University, USA

Laura Schoenberger
University of Ottawa, Canada

Charlotte Guénard
Institut d’Etudes du Développement de la Sorbonne - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, France

Sita Venkateswar
Massey University, Aotearoa/ New Zealand

Eli Friedman
Cornell University, USA

David Triviño
Universidad Nacional de Colombia

Yuyun Wahyuningrum
International Institute of Social Studies EUR, The Netherlands

Akylbek Rakaev
Kyrgyzstan, Nomadic Livestock Keepers’ Development Fund

Akhum Longkumer
Delhi University, India

Sylvia Estrada Claudio
University of the Philippines

Naing Htoo
EarthRights International, Thailand

Irna Hofman
Leiden University, the Netherlands

Alistair Fraser
Maynooth University, Ireland

George T.Mudimu
Centre for Youth Empowerment,Zimbabwe

Yan Hairong
Hong Kong Polytechnic University, China

Nabil Chahrour
Mar de Tierras Association, Spain

Gillian Fletcher
La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia

Maureen Harris
International Rivers (Thailand)

Noble Wadzah
Oilwatch Ghana

Carolina Hurtado
Independent Researcher

Fouad Abu Saif
The Union of Agricultural Work Committees
Mariam Mousa
La Via Campesina- Palestine

Boaventura Monjane
Centre for Social Studies/University of Coimbra, Portugal Alternactiva - Plataforma de Debate Democrático pelaEmancipação Social, Mozambique

Praman Adhikari
South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication (SAAPE), Nepal

Janneke Bruil
ActionAid, Netherlands

Luz Seno Ani
Independent Consultant, Philippines

Marcela Amador Ospina
Corporación Ensayos para la Promoción de la Cultura política, Colombia
Ismat Shahjahan
Awami Workers Party, Pakistan

Mahvish Ahmad
Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge, UK/Centre of Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape, South Africa