EU has requested an investment protection agreement with Myanmar which is being criticized by local NGOs in Myanmar. The agreement was intended to secure investors from EU in case of dispute so the dispute could be raised at 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 loose 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 peoples rights rather than elevating disputes about EU investors land to international courts outside of the country.
Some 223 af Myanmar’s NGOs have wittten to EU’s trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström asking her to scrap the agreement.
Also the Danish Church Aid criticizes the agreement proposal.
Mattias Söderberg, advisor of Church Aid says to globalnyt.dk:
“Along with the interest of international investors in Myanmar comes a challenge to provide land for these corporations. Because there are people in Myanmar who live on the land. And they have seldom proper title deeds certifying they are the land owners. When the government needs to find land for the companies it is often the poorest in the country that they eventually take it from.”