Category Archives: Land Conflict

Workshop on land conflict resolution in Cambodia

Participants on a knowledge exchange activity. Photo by MRLG. Retrieved from

Participants on a knowledge exchange activity. Photo by MRLG. Retrieved from

Star Kampuchea (SK), Analyzing Development Issues Centre (ADIC), and Cambodian Women Media Center (WMC), with support of Mekong Region Land Governance (MRLG), conducted a workshop on Collective Learning on Land Conflict Resolution in Cambodia on 26-27 May in Phnom Penh.

More than 100 participants from CSOs, private, and policy sectors joined in the discussion and knowledge exchange focusing on:

  • Causes of Land Conflicts in Cambodia
  • Land Conflict Resolution Mechanism
  • Land governance World Café: What is for you the main concern on land governance? What is the priority to improve land governance?
  • Storytelling on Land Conflict Resolutions
  • Law Enforcement Related to Land Management in Cambodia
  • Land Conflict Prevention

Bantheay Meanchey Province Deputy Governor H.E. Ly Sary encouraged for more future conduct of this kind of event with more participations of provincial governors to discuss ways to improve land governance in Cambodia.


Land installation to agrarian reform beneficiaries in Leyte, Philippines: stalled!

We are posting this news shared by Solidarity Towards Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (KAISAHAN).

photo by KAISAHAN

Photo by KAISAHAN.

The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Office of Leyte announced postponement of land installations in Barangays Valencia and Sumanga in Ormoc, Leyte on 9 February 2016 affecting around 30 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs).

DAR recalled its own writ of installation allegedly due to a filed case of cancellation of Certificate of Land Ownership and Acquisition (CLOA) over the land by other farmers. Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer (PARPO) II Renato Badilla sent orders stating that previous landowners, Tan Landholdings and the Potenciano & Anecita Larrazabal Enterprises Corporation (PALEC) opposed the installations in the 30 and 35 hectares of land in the two barangays due to the alleged erroneous coverage of the subject landholdings.

Together with the farmers, KAISAHAN expressed their frustration to the non-installment. Atty. Claire Demaisip of KAISAHAN pointed out that “EXCEPT FOR THE SUPREME COURT, no court in the Philippines shall have jurisdiction to issue any restraining order or writ of preliminary injunction against the PARC [Presidential Agrarian Reform Council], the DAR, or any of its duly authorized or designated agencies in any case, dispute or controversy arising from, necessary to, or in connection with the application, implementation, enforcement, or interpretation of (the AR laws).” “It is clearly stated that only a TRO [temporary restraining order] from the Supreme Court can stop this installation,” adds Atty. Rolly Poero, also from KAISAHAN.

In a meeting following the release of the Orders, the farmer beneficiaries wielded their CLOAs before DAR and Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer (MARO) representatives with Leyte Sheriff Joseph Catingub and demanded the immediate resolution of this case and their installation. However their response was that as much as they wanted to install the farmers, they are not in the position to resolve the issue. They can only write their appeals to the PARO’s Orders.

The said farmer beneficiaries from Valencia and Sumanga have already had several attempts for installation since they received their CLOAs way back in 1996. However, all these attempts failed due to resistance of the previous landowners.

Companies: main perpetrators of agrarian-related violence in Indonesia, 2015

We are sharing this news posted by The Jakarta post on 6 January, 2016.

Mr. Iwan Nurdin of the Consortium for Agrarian Reform (KPA). Photo by KPA.

Mr. Iwan Nurdin of the Consortium for Agrarian Reform (KPA). Photo by KPA.

Iwan Nurdin of the Consortium for Agrarian Reform (KPA) revealed that 2015 marked the first time companies accounted for the largest number of cases of violence resulting from agrarian conflicts as shown in their year-end report. There were 35 cases attributed to the companies from the 252 recorded agrarian conflicts covering more than 400,000 hectares of land in 2015.

In the past years, Indonesian Military (TNI) and National Police were the main perpetrators of agrarian-related violence. The National Commission on Human Rights confirmed the trend. This was due to hiring of armed civilian groups, Pam Swakarsa (formed by TNI in 1998), by these private firms to suppress people’s demands and resistance.

Now online: new journals, issue briefs, and land monitoring report of LWA

We are happy to share our newest publications!

With limited land, access to it has been a prevailing issue which leads to human rights violations to farmers, and to the disadvantaged women and indigenous peoples.

These Land Watch Asia (LWA)’s Lok Niti journals compile scoping studies from seven Asian countries (Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, and Philippines) telling of how women and indigenous peoples struggle to claim their land rights:

Lok Niti women_resizedwomen issue briefThe Lok Niti on “Women stake their claim to land” outlines the statuses of women’s land rights in each country, the legal frameworks covering such rights, the key factors promoting or impending women’s land rights, and the strategies to address gender inequality and advance women’s rights to own and benefit from the land. Its issue brief, “Women’s land rights in Asia,” may also be downloaded here.

lok niti IPIP issue briefThe Lok Niti on “Indigenous peoples and their sacred lands,”on the other hand,reveals how the basic bond of indigenous peoples to land are threatened by forces far more powerful than they are equipped to face. The IP issue brief, “On the customary rights of indigenous peoples in Asia,” is also available here.

1LWA also started the Land Reform Monitoring Initiaive in 2010 strengthening evidence-based advocacies of CSOs on access to land and security of land tenure. The “2014 CSO Land Reform Monitoring Report: Towards an Accountable Governance on Land in Asia” features the 2014 CSO land reform monitoring reports on the status of land tenure and access to land of the seven countries. It also reflects the recent expansion of the monitoring initiative to a ridge-to-reef framework providing a more holistic approach in addressing ancestral lands, rural lands, and marine resource concerns.

1A proceedings on “A Regional Workshop on Land Monitoring Initiatives”was also prepared to highlight  LWA’s “Regional Workshop on Land Monitoring Initiatives: Towards an Accountable Governance on Land” held in Manila, Philippines on 21-22 April 2015 – which includes the country land monitoring reports; the country updates in Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam; and the new land reform monitoring framework modified for the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Statistical Analysis of Land Disputes in Cambodia, 2014” report launched

We are sharing this news posted in The NGO Forum on Cambodia website on 28 September 2015.

Panel of the launching workshop. Photo by NGOF.

Panel of the launching workshop.
Photo by NGOF.

NGOF launched the report on Statistical Analysis of Land Disputes in Cambodia, 2014 on 22 September. The report launching workshop was to publicly disseminate the report results, present key findings, and to increase knowledge and understanding of land situations in order to bring all relevant stakeholders to pay attention on them and further spread out to call for intervention.

Around 60 participants from the National Assembly, Mondolkiri’s Deputy Governor, Ministry of Land Management Urban Planning and Construction, local authorities in Phnom Penh, development partners, local and international NGOs network/members and communities attended the launching.

The report aimed to provide evidences of land disputes in 2014. Findings include:[1]

  • that land disputes occurred in 2014 is lesser than the previous years;
  • the highest rate of land disputes occur in Phnom Penh;
  • economic land concessions (ELCs) are the major cause of land disputes;
  • 14% of land disputes affect indigenous peoples;
  • displacements affected 230 families; and
  • 68 cases were resolved in 2014.

Moreover, NGOF Executive Director Dr. Tek Vannara mentioned that land disputes are the biggest challenges Cambodia face.

The report is available online in Khmer and English versions.

[1] As culled from the report [The NGO Forum on Cambodia (NGOF). (2015). Statistical Analysis of Land Disputes in Cambodia, 2014. Phnom Penh: NGOF.]

Consultation on Land and Forestry Policies in Cambodia

STAR Kampuchea in cooperation with NGOs, Forestry Administration of Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Land, Urban Planning and Construction conducted the Provincial Forum on Land and Forestry Policies and Finding Solutions on 29 September 2015 in Pursat Province to address the land and forestry challenges in Krakor District.

Sub-national administration and national government institutions agreed on the following solutions:

  1. establish a land conflict resolution committee to resolve the conflicts involving 37 families, covering 69 hectares (ha) in community forestry lands;
  2. continue to demarcate community forestry lands to avoid land grabbing/conflicts;
  3. fast track the identification process of land registration; and
  4. to re-measure the 400-ha community forestry land.

2014 CSO Land Reform Monitoring Report focuses on resource conflicts

Participants of the presentation and discussion.

Participants of the presentation and discussion.

Around 20 CSO, academic, and government representatives concerning land, municipal water, ancestral domains, and human rights, participated in the Presentation of the 2014 Philippine Land Reform Monitoring Report on 10 September at the College of Social Work and Community Development, University of the Philippines Diliman (CSWCD-UPD). Apart from report discussions, the event also aimed to identify possible linkages and collaboration among participants in addressing resources conflicts; and in implementing the recommendations identified in the report.

The 2014 CSO Land Reform Monitoring Report is a collaboration of the Asian NGO Coalition for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ANGOC), Xavier’s Science Foundation, Inc. – Xavier University (XSF-XU), and UP-CSWCD focusing on conflicts on land, municipal waters, and ancestral domains.

Findings include:

  1. Four of five cases on land conflicts are ‘violent’ (the highest stage of conflict) which involves physical aggressive actions among parties resulting to killings and harassments.
  2. Three of four resource conflict cases on ancestral domains are under the ‘manifested’ stage where conflicts are a public issue.
  3. Intrusions of an international organization in the Philippine municipal waters lead to amending laws on water resource use and management.
  4. The perpetrators of conflicts are the outside actors (e.g. extractive industries, agribusiness, and real estate developers); while the victims are the indigenous communities, landless farmers, and agrarian reform beneficiaries.
  5. The common causes of resource conflicts are varying interests in using and managing resources, relative power of conflict actors, institutional failure, and non-inclusive natural resource management.

Recommendations made for the CSOs include further case documentations; prioritization of protection of farmers and resolution of resource conflicts; and enhancing capacities of farmers and indigenous communities in evaluating business contracts offered to them.

Moreover, responsible land governance, establishing monitoring system, and conflict resolution mechanism are recommended for Government’s action.

The event resulted to the following agreements:

  1. There is a consensus that land conflicts would progress from latent to manifest and even violence given the overlapping land claims and weak governance in all lands but particularly for ancestral domain. Along this line, the participants agreed for the Philippine Government to recognize land right as human right.
  2. Government agencies led by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and CSOs have agreed to give a special focus on these potential conflicts in three ways: first, setting up of human rights desk in all government agencies having a mandate of governing land and other natural resources; second, the CHR will assign a Commissioner to look specifically on issues related to land rights; and third, the CSOs will assist these government agencies by providing venues for inputs and discussions and other needed support.

    Michele Esplana of ANGOC presenting the 2014 CSO Land Reform Monitoring Report.

    Michele Esplana of ANGOC presenting the 2014 CSO Land Reform Monitoring Report.

Welcoming address by the UP-CSWCD Dean, Prof. Jocelyn Caragay.

Welcoming address by the UP-CSWCD Dean, Prof. Jocelyn Caragay.

Consultative workshop on land conflict resolution in Cambodia

We are posting this update shared by Star Kampuchea.

Workshop on Land Conflict Resolution Mechanisms in Phnom Penh. Photo by Star Kampuchea.

Workshop on Land Conflict Resolution Mechanisms in Phnom Penh. Photo by Star Kampuchea.

Star Kampuchea conducted a Consultative workshop on land conflict resolution mechanisms in Cambodia last 30 July in Phnom Penh to:

  • present the research findings on land conflict resolution mechanisms in Cambodia;
  • promote the discussion, sharing, and learning between target communities and stakeholders on land conflict resolution mechanisms; and
  • to plan for future actions.

Thirty-four representatives from different organizations including the Ministry of Land Management Urban Planning and Construction, GIZ, NGO Forum on Cambodia, Community Legal Education Center (CLEC), Rural Aid Organization (RAO), Green Vision, Women’s Media Center of Cambodia (WMC), attended the workshop.

Future plans include the conduct of a nationwide research on conflict resolution in Cambodia; and closer stakeholder collaborations on land issues.

KPA Meets Minister of Secretary of Cabinet to Accelerate Agrarian Conflict Resolutions

We are sharing this update submitted by Konsorsium Pembaruan Agraria (KPA).

Since the inauguration of Indonesia’s President, Joko Widodo on 20 October 2014, KPA has been endorsing the agrarian reform and agrarian conflict resolution to be part of the main agenda of the new administration.

A week after the inauguration, new ministries were formed hoped to accelerate the agrarian reform program and agrarian conflict resolution in Indonesia:

  • Ministry of agrarian and spatial planning (merge of National Land Agency and Directorate General of Spatial Planning in Ministry of Public Working);
  • Ministry of Environment and Forestry (merge of Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Forest); and
  • Ministry of Village Development, Accelerating of Development in Underdeveloped Region and Transmigration (merge of Ministry of Accelerating of Development in Underdeveloped Regions, Directorate General of Empowering Rural Communities in Ministry of Home Affairs, Directorate General of Transmigration in Ministry of Labor )

In 2014, KPA has recorded 472 agrarian conflicts in Indonesia covering 2,860,977.07 hectares and 105,887 household victims. Thus, KPA promotes the creation of the National Committee of Agrarian Conflicts Resolutions body aiming to resolve agrarian conflicts. This body shall be composing of experts and CSOs concerned with the issue.

On this note, KPA, together with other NGOs, had a dialogue with the Minister Secretary of Cabinet, Mr. Andi Widjoyanto on 2 February discussing the importance of the proposed special body.

Dialogue between Indonesia's Minister of Secretary of Cabinet and KPA with other NGOs.

Dialogue between Indonesia’s Minister of Secretary of Cabinet and KPA. Photo by KPA.

250 conflicts on land acquisition recorded in India from 2013-2014

We are sharing this article from Business Standard posted on 31 December.

Land acquisition-related disputes in India, 2013-2014. Photo accessed from

Land acquisition-related disputes in India, 2013-2014.
Photo accessed from

The Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) and Delhi-based Society for Promotion of Wasteland Development (SPWD) revealed a more than 250 conflicts on land acquisition in India from 2013-2014 through a map.

The map showed that atleast a quarter of India is affected by land conflicts.  Moreover, the recently passed land ordinance does not address conflicts on land acquisition; thus, preventing land from acquisition and litigation remains an issue.

Given India’s complex land and forest tenure history, transparent and accountable decision making and respect for people’s rights are vital missing elements,” Kundan Kumar (RRI Asia Regional Program Director) says.