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11-05: Reconciliation over Land Rights in Post-Conflict Settings
The Politics of Institutional Proliferation and the Management of Repatriation-induced Land Disputes in Post-war Burundi
African Studies Centre Leiden, The Netherlands
Though policy makers foresee the restitution of property and land as a primary mechanism for state formation after violent conflicts, and as a sustainable solution to peace building, its implementation unveils critical challenges. In the case of 2000 Arusha Peace Accord to put en end to conflicts in Burundi, the negotiators recommended land restitution and compensation as a key strategy to strengthen an already fragile peace and justice to many former long-term refugees. This paper examines how the management of repatriation-induced land disputes works out in practice and the politics related to it in southern Burundi. Deriving from extensive ethnographic research in the province of Makamba, this paper demonstrates that institutional multiplicity provides choices and opportunities to both returnees and occupants seeking to get their claims validated and settled. Yet, rather than providing a solution to the multiple land disputes between returnees and occupants, institutional multiplicity contributes to intractable land disputes and confusion between local and higher-level government actors about their roles and who has the power to adjudicate local land disputes and to enforce property rights. Ultimately, the resolution of repatriation-induced land disputes resumes to broader political contention about legitimacy, power and control.
Conflict Dynamics of Dual Land Administration in Karen State/Kawthoolei of Myanmar
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University, The Hague, Netherlands
In October 2015, the Government of Myanmar (GoM) signed a partial national ceasefire to end six decades of civil war. Simultaneously, the GoM initiated a package of land-governance reforms, including the issuance of land-use certificates under the 2012 Farmland Law. Many interpret these efforts as part of the state’s attempt to consolidate sovereignty over territory.
This is far from a straightforward process. Joliffe's (2014, 2015) analysis shows that armed groups around the country have established varying degrees of administrative control in their respective areas since the outbreak of war. Ceasefire agreements indicate that administrative systems put in place by ethnic armed organizations will be respected by state authorities. In reality, as the state seeks to extend its rule, the non-state institutions are being eroded as government administration expands. Because property relations require that the laws and norms that regulate them must be sanctioned by “the state or some other form of politico-legal authority” (Sikor and Lund 2009), the uncertainty of shifting authority increases the vulnerability of local communities. This research paper looks at how these dynamics unfold in Karen State (Kawthoolei), where the armed group the KNU has administrated its land since adoption of its land policy in 1974.
Land and Conflict in Myanmar
Palladium , Myanmar
Myanmar (Burma) is living a big dichotomy: while it has opened to the international community and embraced a process of political transformation and peace building, it remains troubled by ethnic conflicts for more than half century. Where ceasefires had taken hold conditions on the ground have improved for civilians. Where the ceasefires did not take place the conflicts are increasing causing more displacement and insecurity. The peace process represents the best opportunity to put an end to half century of conflicts. However, the political, social and economic issues at the heart of the conflict will not be easily resolved. Access to, and control over land and natural resources remain among main causes of conflicts in Myanmar.
This paper aims at analysing the role of the land in the ethnic conflicts in Myanmar, with particular reference to the Kachin and Northern Shan conflicts. It also provides examples of lessons learned from past experiences of conflict mitigation/conflict resolution strategies, which have been successfully implemented in similar situations during the past years.