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This Report aims to support current efforts in Myanmar to address land ownership and land use disputes. Shifts in government administration, inconsistent legal property regimes, inadequate administrative recordkeeping, and unregulated government land seizures have resulted in wide spread conflicting claims to land. These have caused regional instability, internal population displacement, conflict and socio-economic distress. Resolution of these disputes through a restitution mechanism and establishment of a cohesive land ownership and use regime is central to ultimately establishing rule of law and respect for human rights as well as to the long-term economic development of Myanmar.

As stakeholders engage in discussions about whether, when, and how to adopt a land restitution program as a component of more comprehensive land reform policies, best practices and lessons learned from other countries can provide useful reference points. This Report provides that research using international law and best practices as the analysis framework. Six comparable countries - Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), East Timor, Indonesia, Iraq, Kosovo, and Zimbabwe - were selected for investigation due to relevant similarities to Myanmar’s context. These comparators represent post-conflict and/or postcolonial environments; have a significant number of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs); and/or have substantial regional variation throughout the country that calls for a land restitution approach that incorporates relevant regional distinctions.

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