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March 03, 2018

Business watchdog identifies three priorities for coming year in Myanmar

A LIST of priorities needing to be addressed in the coming year in Myanmar includes land disputes, human rights defenders and public participation in responsible business, according to a recent statement by a business watchdog.
Based on an online poll carried out in October and November, the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business identified these priority issues.
The statement said land issues topped the list as some abuses have been remedied but many others remain.
“A draft Land Use Policy discussed in 2014-2015 is still to be adopted, and once it is, new and revised laws will be needed,” it said.
Another priority on the list is the situation of human rights defenders.
“Although the climate for human rights defenders has improved in recent years, rights organisations voiced concern that 2015 still saw the harassment and arrests of workers’ representatives, farmers protesting against land grabs, community leaders challenging destructive mining practices as well as citizens using social media to express their views peacefully,” said the MCRB.
A final key priority area for next year is public participation in responsible business.
The statement stressed the need of making public engagement and full disclosure of information compulsory in many projects and supporting civil society in its efforts to hold companies to account and ensure that development strategies benefit local communities.
“As Myanmar embarks on a new phase of transition in 2016, a range of challenges and opportunities exist for strengthening public participation,” it said.
The MCRB, a Yangon-based initiative funded by a number of European countries, is a neutral platform that aims to improve knowledge, capacity and dialogue concerning responsible business in Myanmarin cooperation with businesses, civil society and the government.


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