The Chin Woman Organization Network (CWON) has said that they will not agree to the Vacant, Fallow and Virgin Land Management Act, which was amended in September.
The CWON’s 2nd Conference was held at Carson Call in the Chin State capital of Hakha from November 28-30. At the conclusion of the conference the network released a statement demanding that the amendments to the land management law be drafted again.
“Farmers used to work in slash-burn moving farms. Their farms move place to place every year. They are working in their customary owned slash-burn farms,” CWON secretary Sung Zi Mang said. “According to new land law, farmers have to register with Form 105/106. If farmers do not register their farms with new land law, farmers will be charged. Therefore, this law is not suitable with our tradition. We have owned our land for so many years and we have lived like this for years. That is why we don’t agree to it.”
The Land Management Law was introduced in 2012 and amended on September 11, 2018.
According to the land management law, people and organizations that have used free, vacant and uncultivated land must register the land with land management committees within six months of the amendment of the law.
If they do not register their land, the people or organizations will be charged accordance with law. The land management committee released a notification letter on November 2, leading to greater criticism from civil society and ethnic organizations.
Chin League for Democracy party chairman and lawyer Ngai Sak said that Chin people use a farming rotation system to grow crops every nine to 10 years. According to this practice, the farmers cannot work on their farms every year, but rather, have to wait for bushes and trees to grow. Ngai Sak on social media that such farmers do not receive full protection for the land they rely on.