About 70 percent of Myanmar's population lives in rural areas and depends on agriculture for a living. Few have formal titles for their land.
Disputes over land have increased significantly since Myanmar eased political and economic restrictions after 2011, which led to a rush of foreign investments and greater demand for land for industrial use.
Government officials say these projects, including mining, hydropower and large-scale agriculture, are essential for development in one of the world's poorest countries. Land deals are often marred by a lack of consultation, inadequate compensation, the absence of a resettlement policy and a lack of judicial remedies. Alongside, arrests and prosecution of protesters and land activists have risen.
"The laws don't protect the small farmer, and they don't adhere to international human rights guidelines," said Jennifer Franco, a researcher with Amsterdam-based advocacy group Transnational Institute that focuses on land issues. Proposed amendments will further undermine the rights of ethnic communities and women, and make it harder to resolve disputes.