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The issue of justice lies at the heart of debates over water governance in Myanmar. In this chapter, I explore how ‘Rights’ and ‘Rites’ have shaped the interaction between state and community in resource governance in Karen State. Rites-based approaches are locally-defined natural resource management arrangements that center upon cultural norms and local knowledge. Meanwhile, Rights-based approaches are formalized and legalistic approaches to resource governance that are normally recognized by the state and codified in laws and policies. I take two case studies: the Hatgyi Dam; and community based water governance at Kaw Ku island and around nearby Daw La Lake. I argue that to ensure inclusive decision-making processes and therefore social justice in water governance in Myanmar, formal policy and institutional arrangements must reflect Rights but also accommodate Rites.
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- Rites, Rights, and Water Justice in Karen State: A Case Study of Community-Based Water Governance and the Hatgyi Dam
Saw John Bright