Rights to Land and Water

Women farmers are planting rice during the monsoon season in Myanmar. Photo by: Kaung Htet/ Oxfam

Land rights are central to the lives of tens of millions of people in Myanmar. For many people land is a critical asset yet people in Myanmar have little access to land rights: land grabs are common, few are able to legally register their land and women face particular difficulties in claiming their land rights. With investment on the rise, there is a growing demand for land across the country. Oxfam is working with local and national actors to help protect individuals’ and communities’ land rights in the uplands of Kachin and Shan as well as working with national allies to strengthen the policies and laws that help secure peoples’ rights.

Like land, access to water is a central issue for economic development in Myanmar. Major rivers such as the Salween and Ayeyarwaddy rivers run through the heart of country, supporting thousands of small communities that depend on them for their water and livelihoods. Oxfam is working with civil society, private sector and Government actors to strengthen the role of communities in governance of river water resources, and through local partners, build the capacity of communities to engage with decision makers on the development of hydropower projects. Hydropower projects often overlook the impacts they will have on communities, and on women in particular, so Oxfam is working with local organisations to ensure developers and Government address the impacts of their potential projects on people, especially women.