The Conservation Alliance of Tanawtharyi (CAT) has launched a report assessing alternative visions of forest conservation, customary tenure and land restitution for displaced communities.

Proposals to expand Protected Areas to conserve Tanintharyi’s biodiversity are criticized for failing to respect the rights of indigenous peoples to their land, resources and livelihoods. The demarcation of Tanintharyi Nature reserve in 2005 is cited as an example of how conservation zones hinder the return of refugees to forests of which they were previously custodians. In contrast, examples of community-led approaches to conservation in Dawei and Hpapun Townships are presented as an alternative model promoting both biodiversity and human rights.

CAT is a coalition of Karen community organisations, supported by TBC, which promotes the conservation of biodiversity and the rights of indigenous peoples in Tanintharyi Region. “Our Forest, Our Life: Protected Areas in Tanintharyi Region must respect the rights of indigenous peoples” was launched in Yangon on 21st February.

English and Burmese versions of the report are available for download.