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Biblioteca Analysis of Customary Communal Tenure of Upland Ethnic Groups, Myanmar

Analysis of Customary Communal Tenure of Upland Ethnic Groups, Myanmar

Analysis of Customary Communal Tenure of Upland Ethnic Groups, Myanmar

Resource information

Date of publication
Julho 2015
Resource Language
ISBN / Resource ID

Customary Tenure and Land Alienation in Myanmar:
"Customary communal tenure is characteristic of many local upland communities in S.E. Asia. These
communities have strong ancestral relationships to their land, which has never been held under
individual rights, but considered common property of the village. Communal tenure has been the
norm and land has never been a commodity. This is an age-old characteristic of many societies
globally. Prior to the publication in 1861 of Ancient Law by the English jurist Henry Sumner Maine,
the accepted view among Western jurists in the nineteenth century had been that the origin of the
concept of property was the occupation of land by a single proprietor and his family. However,
Maine insisted that for India, for example, “it is more than likely that joint ownership, and not
separate ownership, is the really archaic institution, and that the forms of property that will afford
us instruction will be those that are associated with the rights of families and of groups of kindred.”1
The international recognition of this had earlier emerged in developed countries such as Australia,
New Zealand and Canada and it became manifest in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous
Peoples in 2007. The Declaration specifies individual and collective rights of indigenous peoples, as
well as their rights to culture, identity, language, land and natural resources, employment, health,
education and other issues. It was voted for in the UN by 144 countries, including Myanmar.
In Myanmar customary tenure arrangements date back centuries. They are linked to the
characteristics of the landscape and its resources, to the kinship systems, to population density and
to the actual history of the area and settlement. In general the ethnic upland villagers’ identity is
clearly linked to the land constituting a dense network of particular places, each having different
cultural and material value and containing a mosaic of resources. There is an inner connection
between history, identity and land...

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