USAID country Profile: Property Rights and Resource Governance: Burma
Burma is situated in Southeastern Asia, bordering Bangladesh, India, China, Laos and Thailand. The majority of its population lives in rural areas and depends on l and as a primary means of livelihood. Because all land in Burma ultimately belongs to the state, citizens and organizations depend upon use-rights, but do not own land. Burma's laws grant women equal rights in some respects and also recognize certain customary laws that provide women equal rights in relation to land. In practice, however, the rights of many women are governed by customs that do not afford them equal access to or control over land. Forcible and uncompensated land confiscation is a source of conflict and abuse in Burma, and protests and fear of 'land grabs' have escalated as the state opens its markets to foreign investors and pursues policies to dramatically increase industrial agricultural production. Burma has rich water, forest and mineral resources. However, a rapid expansion of resource extraction efforts in the past three decades has led to widespread land and water pollution, deforestation and forced relocation.