Mapping environmental conflicts and cooperation



Land Grabbing Conflict in Thegon in Myanmar

Type of conflict sub
Intensity 1.5
South Eastern Asia
Time 2014 ‐ 2014
Countries Myanmar
Resources Agricultural / Pastoral Land
Conflict Summary In 2014, farmers protested against government inaction to address land grabbing in Thegon. The farmers were met with police violence and charges for...
Land Grabbing Conflict in Thegon in Myanmar
In 2014, farmers protested against government inaction to address land grabbing in Thegon. The farmers were met with police violence and charges for disturbing the peace. No progress has been made in addressing land grabbing.
Conceptual Model

Intermediary Mechanisms

The government of Myanmar has not addressed the grievances of farmers who have had their lands taken away.

Fragility and Conflict Risks

Protests against the government’s inaction to compensate farmers or return their lands have ensued. The government has responded by raiding the protests and arresting farmers involved.

Climate ChangeEnvironmental ChangeIntermediary MechanismsFragility and Conflict RisksSocial and Economic DriversEconomic developments lead to changes in land use.Changes in land use reduce available/usable land.Land scarcity undermines the livelihoods of agricultural producers.Livelihood insecurity leads to growing discontent with the state.A broad concept to cover economic growth in general but also specific economic changes or changes of incentives.Economic DevelopmentA change in the usage of environmentally relevant land.Land Use ChangeReduced availability of/ access to land.Increased Land ScarcityA threat or destruction of livelihoods dependent on the availability of environmental resources / goods.Livelihood InsecurityChallenge to the state's legitimacy, ranging from peaceful protest to violent attempts at overthrowing the government.Anti-State Grievances
Context Factors
  • Insecure Land Tenure
  • Unresponsive Government
Conflict History

The farmers in Thegon Township began protesting against land grabbing and government inaction in February 2014 (AHRC, 2014). The protest was raided by sixty police and plain-clothed accomplices (believed to have been hired thugs) (Noreen, 2014). Four protestors were charged for not having a license to demonstrate while others were assaulted; resulting in two women being hospitalised (AHRC, 2014). No steps have been taken since the protest to address the grievances of farmers. The four farmers arrested by police were charged under section eighteen of the Peaceful Assembly and Demonstration Law for protesting without a license (AHRC, 2014). This has been criticised by the Asia's Human Rights Commission because the law does not enable people to gather and express their views freely and democratically; instead, it enables authorities to arbitrarily issue permits to civilians who wish to protest (AHRC, 2014).

Lack of institutional capacity forces farmers to protest
Prior to clashes with police, aggrieved farmers had pursued other methods to address the issue of land grabbing. Over sixty written complaints were sent to some twenty-four government departments and agencies and no satisfactory response was received (AHRC, 2014). Given the limitations in institutional capacity to provide a forum for conflict mediation for land conflicts, citizens had no other option other than to protest (AHRC, 2014). After government inaction to compensate farmers or to return their land, more protests ensued in following months. Police arrested another five farmers and charged them for disturbing public peace (Noreen, 2014).

Resolution Efforts

Police were ordered to disperse protestors. A number of protestors were charged for demonstrating without a permit and disturbing public peace. No dispute resolution process was engaged with to address the issues which had caused the protest.

Intensities & Influences
conflict intensity scale
International / Geopolitical Intensity
Human Suffering

Environmental Influences
Societal Influences

Violent Conflict Yes
Salience within nation Municipal
Mass Displacement None
Cross Border Mass Displacement No
Agricultural / Pastoral Land
Resolution Success
Reduction in Violence Violence has ceded completely.
Reduction in geographical scope There has been no reduction in geographical scope.
Increased capacity to address grievance in the future There is no increased capacity to address grievances in the future.
Grievance Resolution Grievances have been completely ignored.
Causal Attribution of Decrease in Conflict Intensity The decline in intensity can be explained purely by the suppression or killing of grievance holders.
General opencollapse
Country Data in Comparison
ConflictNoData Created with Sketch.
Fault Lines Defining Conflict Parties
Purely Environmental | Cultural   ♦   Occupational   ♦   Economic   ♦   Urban / Rural   ♦   National / International conflict   ♦   Sub-national political

Participation Conflict Party     Conflict Resolution Facilitator
Thegon Farmers
Functional GroupCivil Society
Geographical ScaleInternal Grassroots
Myanmar Government
Functional GroupPublic
Geographical ScaleInternal National
Police Forces
Functional GroupPublic
Geographical ScaleInternal National
Further Details opencollapse
Conflict Characterization
Character of the contested good Common-pool resource: No one can be excluded from use but the good is depleted.
Structure of decision-making power / interdependence Asymmetric: The power to affect the environmental resource is unequal.
Broad conflict characterization Resource Capture is strongly present.
Ecological Marginalization is present.
Data of involved Countries
Resources and Materials opencollapse