Category Archives: Land Grabbing

Rights activists demand judicial probe on land grabbing in Thakurgaon District

Panel of the press conference. Photo by ALRD

Panel of the press conference. Photo by ALRD.

In a press conference organized by ALRD on 8 January 2016 in Dhaka, Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) presented the results of an investigation conducted in October 2015 on the allegations of land grabbing by the lawmakers in Thakurgaon District.

General Secretary of the Vested Property Act Protection Movement Advocate Subrata Chowdhury said that the local ruling MP has already grabbed a portion of land of minorities in Thakurgaon’s Baliadangi upazila along the Indian border. He added that the Thakurgaon-2 MP and his family have set up a 106-acre tea garden, ‘Ranbag Islami Tea Estate Company,’ in the border of the upazila where the 35-acre lands of some 10 Hindu families are located.

Despite the local  MP’s denial of the accusations, rights advocates demanded a judicial probe to the allegation. They urged the authorities to take actions against the people involved in the land grabbing and violence.

News links:

http://newagebd.net/191733/judicial-probe-sought-into-land-grabbing-by-thakurgaon-mp/http://www.thedailystar.net/city/thakurgaon-mp-slammed-land-grabbing-attempt-199243

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Philippines: Local government units and advocates firmly stand against mining

Panel of discussants of the “National Policy Dialogue on Local Autonomy and Mining.”

Panel of discussants of the “National Policy Dialogue on Local Autonomy and Mining.”

The current policy (EO 79) of the Philippine administration on mining is viewed by local government units (LGUs) as an aggressive promotion of large-scale mining. With a close to 50%-record on the number of provinces with anti-mining ordinances, the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (CoMP) and the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce have issued a position that local ordinances cannot supersede a national law like the Mining Act of 1995. On a brighter side, a new bill to immediately direct increased taxes and mining revenues to the LGUs was filed in the Lower House – the Mining Revenue Bill.

With these, the Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) led the National Policy Dialogue on Local Autonomy and Mining on 13 November 2015 in Quezon City to review the status of local legislations on mining projects; enhance the awareness and learnings among locally elected officials on the current issues of mining, specifically the challenges the LGUs face; and produce a set of actions that facilitate convergence of advocacy efforts on local autonomy and extractives.

Local chief executives, public administration experts, civil society groups, and other stakeholders participated in the dialogue which focused on the ‘local autonomy and mining: the LGU right to say “no” to mining,’ and on ‘the economics of mining: taxes and revenues from mining, are they worth it?”

Based from legal frameworks and economic return data presented, the event concluded that LGUs have the right to resist entries of mining activities, and that mining merely contributes to Government revenues by 0.004%, thus telling that mining is not worth engaging.

The results of this dialogue will be part of a report to be shared to LGUs; used as bases for dialogues for the 2016 elections; used for lobbying other legislative reforms including fiscal regime.

Organizers of the national dialogue also include RePubliko, CLCG, LILAK, Philippine Society for Public Administration (PSPA), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Bantay Kita, Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines – National Secretariat for Social Action (CBCP-NASSA) and the Provincial Governments of Albay, Nueva Vizcaya and Oriental Mindoro.

Accused land grabbers investigated in Bangladesh

We are posting this news story shared by the Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD).

The investigation delegates listen to the victims of land grabbing.                                       Photo: ALRD

The investigation delegates listen to the victims of land grabbing.
Photo: ALRD

A delegation of senior representatives from National Civic Coordination Cell for Implementation of the Vested Property Return Act (VP Civic Cell)[1] visited the Baliadangi Upazila of Thakurgaon District in Rangpur Division on 25 October 2015 to probe the allegation that a local parliament member (MP) of the ruling party had attempted to grab the lands of minorities.

This is in accordance to an incident on 19 June where Hindu minorities were attacked, tortured, and threatened allegedly by the workers of a tea company who happens to be relatives of the Local Awami League leaders.

Following the discussion with the accused, the victims, and the witnesses, the delegation met with the Police Superintendent of Thakurgaon district at his office and the press at Thakurgaon press club.

Members of the investigation team met with the local police administration.                                 Photo: ALRD

Members of the investigation team met with the local police administration. Photo: ALRD

[1] Consists of the following organizations: Hindu Bouddha Khristan Oikko ParishadAssociation for Land Reform and Development (ALRD)Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK)Bangladesh Puja Udjapon ParishadBangladesh Legal Aid Services Trust (BLAST), Orpito Sompotti Ain Protirodh Andolon (ASAPA), Nijera KoriHuman Development Research Centre (HDRC), and Sommilito Samajik Andolon.

ANGOC and LWA’s newest knowledge products – available online!

We are happy to share ANGOC and LWA’s newest knowledge products:

2013 cso land reform monitoring2013 CSO Land Reform Monitoring Report: Reclaiming our Rights to Land 

This report is a summary of the 2013 CSO Land Reform Monitoring papers in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, and the Philippines. It focuses on land conflicts including killings, harassments, land-related detainments, and evictions experienced in the seven countries. 

land grab issue briefLand grab issue brief: Upholding Farmers’ Land Rights against Land Grabs

This issue brief highlights the roots of land grabbing experienced in the aggrieved communities in the seven countries. 

ANGOC participates in a conference on contested access to land

Plenary session on the Contested Access to Land in the Philippines and Indonesia: How Can the Rural Poor Re(gain) Control? Photo by Geia de la Pena, retrieved from httpcalpi.up.edu.phwp-contentuploads201502DSCF4078.jpg

Plenary session on the Contested Access to Land in the Philippines and Indonesia: How Can the Rural Poor Re(gain) Control? Photo by Geia de la Pena, retrieved from httpcalpi.up.edu.phwp-contentuploads201502DSCF4078.jpg

ANGOC participated in an international conference, Contested Access to Land in the Philippines and Indonesia: How can the Rural Poor (Re)gain Control?, held on 16-17 February at the Asian Center and University Hotel, University of the Philippines Diliman, Quezon City.

Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR) of the University of Amsterdam, and the Asian Center and Third World Studies Center (TWSC) of the University of the Philippines organized the event.

The conference, was as a venue for academic researchers, NGO practitioners, and policy activists and advocates to share experiences on land grabbing and vulnerabilities of the rural poor in land deals in Indonesia and the Philippines and reflect and better understand how the rural poor can “(re)gain control” over land.

Parallel panel sessions were held on the following topics:

  • Challenges and dilemmas of advocacy: addressing corporate land acquisitions
  • Post-conflict land acquisitions and land governance
  • Indigenous people and commercial land claims
  • The gender dimension of land deals
  • The role of States, policies, and their outcomes
  • Post-disaster land grab
  • Who controls the land after land reform?
  • The past and future of resource extraction and agrarian issues
  • Alternative models of small-scale farming and land ownership

ANGOC, was one of the panel members under the Challenges and dilemmas of advocacy: addressing corporate land acquisitions session. The presentation highlighted the land grabbing cases documented by the Land Watch Asia (LWA) partners in the Philippines and Indonesia, and the recommendations of the Asian Peoples Land Rights Tribunal.

Looking forward, the next challenge will be on how to collaborate the shared ideas to have common political projects, research, and initiatives between academics and CSO/social movements in the Philippines and Indonesia.

Nathaniel Don Marquez, Executive Director of ANGOC, delivering his presentation during a panel session.

Nathaniel Don Marquez, Executive Director of ANGOC, delivering his presentation during a panel session.

Bangladesh: seminar on land grabbing

We are sharing this article contributed by the Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD).

The present context of land grabbing is a global concern. In Bangladesh, land grabbing changes the traditional cultivation practices of agriculture into commercial use such as tobacco, rubber plantation, and brick field; hence threatens food security. Moreover, housing, urbanization, industrialization, and state acquisition put environment, agriculture, and livelihood in vulnerable position.  It generates rural inequality, migration, displacement, and high rates of urban poverty in the lens of human rights. Hence, agricultural land, forest land, and water bodies are decreasing day by day owing to land grabbing.

Executive Director of RULFAO (first from the left) relating the importance of the seminar

Executive Director of RULFAO (first from the left) relating the importance of the seminar

In this circumstance, ALRD and its partner Rural Underprivileged Landless Farmer’s Organization (RULFAO) with the support of ILC organized a seminar on “Land Grabbing: Necessity to Protect Agricultural Land and Food Security” in Chapai Nababganj District on 22 November.

The seminar recommends protecting all kinds of lands from the land grabbing to ensure food security. The seminar also demands to enact the agricultural land protection act so that it will be possible to bring the offenders under penalty. Moreover, accountability of the land administration needs to be ensured.

Lok Niti on Land Grab 2014 – now available online!

Lok Niti Land Grab 2014We are pleased to present our new journal, Land Grab: the struggle continues.

This is a compilation of land grab cases documented by LWA partners in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, and Philippines. The cases highlight how farmers, women, and indigenous peoples have been displaced from their lands; and how ecosystems have been destroyed, food security undermined and livelihoods lost.

Land Seizure In Myanmar Continues Despite Reforms, Government Faces Internal And External Pressure To Develop Land Policies

Land Seizure In Myanmar Continues Despite Reforms, Government Faces Internal And External Pressure To Develop Land Policies.

Asian governments’ land reform sidetracked by market bias says Land Watch Asia Campaign

Government policies favoring resource-extractive and export-oriented activities have sidetracked agrarian reform programs in some Asian countries at the expense of the poorest and most marginalized of their citizens, said a loose coalition of civil society groups pushing for land reform.

States favor these  “neoliberal economic policies” because they attract foreign investment, Land Watch Asia said in a paper titled  “The Prolonged Struggle for Land Rights in Asia.”

“Governments have lost interest in enforcing redistributive land and resource policies. The politically sensitive task of land redistribution has been shelved in favor of resource-extractive and export-oriented activities, which are easier, instantly gratifying, and lucrative,” the group said. Read the rest of this entry

Clash over Khas land in Bangladesh leaves one killed

Pirgong, Bangladesh –  A young landless peasant was brutally killed in a landless territory called Zoykur at Pirgong, Thakurgoan district last July 3. Kamolakanto Kanu, member of the Joykur Peoples Organization which is facilitated by the Community Development Association (CDA) of Bangladesh. Kanu was brutally killed and 8 others were injured by local influential land grabbers. A certain Satu Ram and his group were trying to occupy the Khas land in Joykur village already occupied by Kanu’s group for the past 12 years. The land grabbers hit Kanu with a stick, leaving him dead on the spot and more than 8 others wounded, including women. Soon after the incident, police arrested 6 people including suspect, Satu Ram. Kanu left a widow who is 8 months pregnant.

CDA is assisting the Joykur People’s Organization to defend the interest of landless people and provide legal aid for Kanu’s family. CDA commends the heroic sacrifice of Kamolakanto Kanu and has declared July 3rd as Shohid Kamolakanto Kanu Day.

Source: Report from Community Development Association (CDA), Upa-Shahr, Block #1, Dinajpur-5200, Bangladesh

Phone # +88-0531-64428, E-Mail: cdapo@cdapo.org