Bio-Human Ecology
Livelihood & Anthropology
Fragile Future of Ethnic Minorities Accidentally or intentionally inconsistent policies!
The nature of process of working closely paralleled in directing the comprehensive, thoroughly and urgently implementation between: "the Resolution 539/NQ-UBTVQH13 dated 30.10.2012 of the Standing Committee of the Vietnam National Assembly on the results of monitoring the implementation of policies and laws on residential and productive land for ethnic minorities" and " the Resolution of the VI Congress of the Party Central Committee term XIth on continuity to innovate policies and law on land in the period of accelerating the comprehensive the reform, laying foundations for 2020, Vietnam basically becomes a modern industrial country” - No 19-NQ/TW of the Communist Party of Vietnam dated October 31, 2012 is "to help ethnic minorities out of "backwardness" and "poor" in the subjective sense of leadership.
Both Resolutions: the 539/NQ-UBTVQH13 date 30.10.2012 of the Standing Committee of the Vietnam National Assembly and the 19-NQ/TW dated 31/10/2012 which were made before and after only one day (30 and 31 /10/2012) are to promote and urgently from top to bottom to direct the ministries, provinces and the specialized agencies of the State"... to continue to renew policies and laws on land in the period of accelerating the comprehensive reform, laying foundations for 2020 Vietnam basically becomes a modern industrial country ".
In the Resolution No. 539/NQ-UBTVQH13 date 30.10.2012 of the Standing Committee of the Vietnam National Assembly, at two articles: 1. The Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs shall review and evaluate the work of vocational training, ensure jobs for ethnic minorities in the period from 2006 to 2012. In the same time, the Ministry must study and develop specific policies to promote the training and non-agricultural jobs for workers who are ethnic minorities. 2. People's Committees of provinces and cities directly under the Central Government in the quarter III / 2013 have to submit reports to the Prime Minister. The reports needs to review and summarize the implementation of population planning, use planning for agricultural and forestry land, planning different types of forests in ethnic minority and mountainous areas; quarter IV/2013 above bodies must submit proposals on planning, construction projects and development projects related to land acquisition, land for agro-forestry production in mountainous, ethnic minority and border areas". All above reflect the common mean and synonymousity, taking place continuously through a series of legal documents in order to accelerate the process of industrialization in Vietnam, in which mountainous regions where ethnic minorities live are special priority of the Government. The assignment to the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs in promoting the review and evaluation, as well conduct researches and develop specific policies, in which around 1,000,000 youths will be trained the direction of non-agricultural profession to meet the demand for skilled workers in the mining, refining and modern production lines. All of these have been legalized in the Resolution No 539/NQ-UBTVQH13 dated 10.30.2012 of the Standing Committee the Vietnam National Assembly on the results of monitoring the implementation of policies and laws on residenial and productive land for ethnic minorities, and the political will has been policized via the Resolution No. 19 - NQ / TW on 31/10/2012.
After researching and comparing the consistency between the articles and the sections amongst Resolutions of the Standing Committee of the Vietnam National Assembly No. 539/NQ-UBTVQH13 dated 30.10.2012, the Central Resolution of the Central Committee Party No. 19 - NQ/TW dated 31/10/2012; the Draft Law on Land in 2013 with articles such as 9, 13,14,15,16,17,18, 19, 20, 26, 34, 35, 36, 37,38,39, 43, 154, 161, we realized the inadequacies very subtle and difficult to detect in order to analyze and contribute to the draft land law in 2013. Particularly, Vietnam has more than 70% of the farmers, of which over 12% are ethnic minorities. It fears that it will be hard to these people to have opportunities, and especially the ability to read series of documents issued continuously during for the past nearly two years in order to comment and separate the delicate inconsistencies so be very difficult to detect. For example:
"At the article 9: Classification of land - Point 1: Agricultural land, and Point 2: Non-agricultural land – section d) production land and non-agricultural land include: land in industrial parks, cluster of industrial parks, processing zones, trading and services land, land for production facilities, non-farm business, land use of mineral activities, land for production of building materials, ceramics ".
"At the article 26: Responsibilities of the State on land, agricultural land for ethnic minorities - Point 1: Have land policies for ethnic minorities in accordance with the customs, traditions, cultural identity and the actual conditions of each region. Point 2: Have policy in creating conditions for ethnic minorities directly involve in agricultural production in rural areas, to obtain land for agricultural production".
Comment: the article 26 which wants to be real force along with the political will of the Vietnam National Assembly at the Resolution No. 539/NQ-UBTVQH13 dated 30.10.2012 of the Standing Committee of the Vietnam National Assembly needs to add one item, it is, a) Residential and productive land for ethnic minorities is understood as space for practicing indigenous knowledge of the people including the beliefs in nurturing nature, and space of the traditional festivals such as the basic conditions for eating, living, breathing and wearing that people see them as indispensable in the daily live. "
In the same time, we need to re-define the concept of "non-agricultural land” at the Point 2 of the article 9. If remaining the point 2 of the Article 9 means that the article 26 would not have legal legitimacy. Because there is no land revenue known as agricultural land for the people in terms of area, not to mention the concept of value system of ethnic minorities for land. Land for ethnic minorities is their existing space bestowed by Giang. So, they worship residential land and productive land before and after cultivation. This has become ideological and inviolable customs and ideology in daily behavior. The draft law on land in 2013 (article 26) does not have "the word and means" of this ideology! Worse is in the article 154. Religious land-point 1 mentions: religious land include land with infrastructures like temples, shrines, small pagodas, halls, worshiping house of the clan. Point 2 - usage of the religious land must be proper in accordance with the planning, land use planning, urban planning, planning for development of the rural areas approved by the relevant functional government agencies. Point 3 - the construction, expansion of temples, shrines, small pagodas, halls, worshiping house of the clan must be permitted by competent state agencies. Given such a default, including the article 154 also does not have a concept of the religious value system of ethnic minorities. As ethnic minorities never have the concept of "communal houses, temples, shrines, small pagodas, halls, worshiping house of the clan" as defined about religious land in the article 154!
Thus, in order to make the article 154 effective it needs to add point related to definition of religious land for ethnic minorities. Why? Because, 15 million of ethnic minorities do not have the concept of religion through "community houses, temples, shrines, small pagodas, halls and worshiping house of the clan”.
If we do not have a definition of religious land for ethnic minorities, it means that the Draft Law on Land in 2013 will automatically delete the entire ideology of ethnic minorities in Viet Nam by the Article 154 along with other articles such as 9, 13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,34,35,36,37,38,38,43. This actually accelerates the process of industrialization, urbanization and commoditization of almost land areas, and rapidly converting them in the direction of non-agricultural production for many millions of young ethnic minority in accordance to the subjective theory and will of the political leaders.
Above legal frameworks accidentally or intentionally will clear the space of livelihood of ethnic minorities, in which people not only worship the god as normative systems which have been formed and educated under the traditional spririt of voluntary and community values ​​in relations of friendship with land and creatures.  These rules are unwritten and transformed from generation to generation via such as Traditional Ritual of ethnic minorities in the Central Highland namely ‘Dam Trau’ – The Buffaloes Sacrifice, Worshiping the Land Spirit of the Ma Coong on the sixteenth day lunar month, Worshiping the ‘Spring Spirit’ of the Ka Tu and Ma Coong, ‘Tong Xenh’ and ‘Thu Ti’ Ceremonies of the Mong, Lieng Pi Ho of the Khmu, ‘Chuong Mien’ of the Dzao, etc. These are treasure of knowledge of ethnic minorities towards nature with its diversity and power that only the Heaven Law can be determined.
The above articles actually clear about the diversity of culture and values of ethnic minorities who are living in the forest, in areas that now belong to the article 9 -Land classification and Article 20 - State agencies represent owners of the land. The Vietnam National Assembly, the Government, the People's Council and People's Committees at all levels shall the right to represent the land owners by AUTHORITY PROVIDED IN THIS DOCUMENT!
"The Article 35 - System of planning, land use planning - Point 1 - Planning, national land use plan (approved by the National Assembly) must follow the law at Point 1 of the Article 43". "Article 35 - Point 2- Planning and land use planning at provincial level; Point 4- Planning, use planning for military/defense land; and Point 5. Planning, use planning for security land" approved by the Government in accordance with the law at point 2 of the Article 43 . "Article 13 – The government decides the purpose of land use. The Government decides the purpose of land use through land use planning, plan of land use and decision to allow changing the purpose of land use"; Article 14 – the government regulates the scope and duration of land use"; "Article 15- the government DECIDES land acquisition". "Article 16 – the government grants land use right to land users”; "Article 17- the government decides the land valuation"; "Article 18- the government decides the policy on fiscal on land"; "Article 19 – the government decides the rights and obligations of land users".
We could understand the nature of Point 3 of the Article 35. Planning and land use planning at district level is meaningless. District is not subject to the consequences of such planning as commune and village levels as the district does not have the people, just as the administration level of planning on paper. Each household, each village, a cooperative are subject to the plan, who are recognized or disappeared from land use planning and land use plans. They are the only object most authentic rubbed acts real land use planning of all the planning. So, Article 35 does not mention the role of commune-level in land-use planning. The commune-level land use planning already wipes out the object and disables the role and position of the object. In the sense of nature and practice of science of all land-use planning, it must consider and take into account the communal objects as a prefix utmost in post-decision planning (planning implementation, monitoring and criticizing the efficiency of planning). This cannot ignore. The commune level is seen as a direct representative of the owner - the people which is recognized in the Constitution and the 2003 Land Law!
Moreover, when considering the actual nature of land revenue where ethnic minorities are at stake some challenges need to be considered. Firstly, most of forestry land is managed by the state-owned agro-forestry enterprises and companies under the Degree 163/CP/ 1999. The Law does not mention who have to return land to local people, by what mechanisms, who are responsible to return, and how many? The fact shows that, there is not an exact figure of how many hectares currently kept by state-owned agro-forestry enterprise. Just know that ethnic minorities are now almost empty-handed because there is no "livelihoods space”. According to them, this space is their home, where for breathing, worshiping, exchanging, festivals, and inter-generation transmission in unwritten ways via living, breathing, worshiping, and exchanging and livelihood activities in the communal manner in the belief of worshiping and nurturing nature. A hut which was named by scientists as ‘Dân tộc Lá vàng’ such as the hut of the Ma Lieng also contains 15 natural spirits. These spirits refuge and protect the Ma Lieng in their huts. They strongly believe that they are living serenity and peace as the concept of RESIDENTIAL LAND of the Ma Lieng (see the papers of the Center for Indigenous Knowledge Research and Development - CIRRD in the Literature on weekly).
Secondly, it needs to redefine the concept of agricultural land for ethnic minorities known as forestland. Without a specific definition of agricultural land for ethnic minorities, when implementing the article 26 of the Land Law to ethnic minorities, there will have no legal evidence to withdraw and return land to the people. And so, the law is no more and no less as papers which happened in the past.
The concept of religious land should not be construed as default subjectively defined in Point 1 of the Article 154. It should be not stereotyped, subjective and practical understanding of the concept of residential and production land of ethnic minorities such as the interpretation was determined in point 1. Agricultural land and point 2 - non-agricultural land of the Atricle 9-land classification. Why?
In the understanding, values and knowledge of ethnic minorities which have been formed and adapted for hundreds of years in their natural living area are not included in the process of awareness, consciousness and behavior of the Law on Land. The majority of ethnic minorities, according to their customs and ideology of the land, they have no concept of agricultural land and non-agricultural land. Moreover, they do not arbitrarily classify land as "scientists" do to serve the purpose of ECONOMISM and INDUSTRALIZATION of the rural areas. Ethnic minorities classify land in their own ways, their own value systems and purposes on normative standards which behave politely with nature. The point 1 of Article 26 mentions -‘having a policy for ethnic minorities in accordance with their customs, traditions, cultural identity and the actual conditions of each region.
The phrase "having a policy for ethnic minorities in accordance with the customs, traditions, cultural identity and the actual conditions of each region" should be legalized in Article 26 of Law to clarify practical and objective views which are expressed in the political will of the Law. The contradiction is that, the law does not reflect the nature of reality, empty the ideology of 15 million of ethnic minorities. This becomes customary practices which cannot be ignored as "Article 9 - Classification of the land"- Point 1 - Agricultural land, and point 2 - Non-agricultural land; and Article 154 - religious land - points 1, 2 and 3. Amongst Article 26 - point 9 and Article 154, it needs to analyze and clarify the text and meaning. The inconsistency in nature between these articles will definitely repeat the trail of words and meaning of the Articles and Points in the coming amended law on land. Even, these inconsistencies between different types of laws, amongst lawyers who made laws by their undemocratic will, have caused and will continue to cause more troubles for the owners, as well as the owner's representative. Distrust and conflicts among the owners and between the owners and their repreprentative will be consequences. Hope that the concerns of many people will be understood by the wise leadership of the Party and the willingness of government management agencies to redeem - the representatives of the owners, which as the call of the President Ho Chi Minh is “the loyal servants of the people, will rehabilitate in order to make the good decisions for the people, and to heal the wounds of lost faith in the people which become more risk for the nation and the people of Vietnam!

Tran Thi Lanh
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