Sharing with you an article written by Michael Rosenkrantz, a VSO volunteer in Nepal working with Land Watch Asia partner Community Self-Reliance Centre (CSRC).
CSRC organizes International Conferences on Agrarian Questions and Comprehensive Solutions, and Land Reform and Non-Violent Land Rights Movement
Last 3-4 March 2014, Community Self Reliance Center (CSRC), International Land Coalition (ILC), International Initiatives (II) and Forum for Agrarian Concern and Studies Nepal (FACT-Nepal) organized the International conference on ‘Agrarian Questions and Comprehensive Solutions.’ The conference sought to build the knowledge on land and agrarian reform models, approaches and policy provisions and identify strategic areas on land reforms.
Discussions took place between Nepal’s Ministry of Land Reform and Management (MoLRM), CSOs, political parties and parliament members. The conference gathered 187 participants from Asia (including Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Philippines, Indonesia and Pakistan), Latin America (Columbia and Venezuela), Africa (Senegal), Europe (Switzerland), and Canada, resulting in a diverse set of perspectives and experiences, as well as stories of struggles, successes, and challenges.
Prior to the conference in Kathmandu, CSRC also organized a field visit programme for international participants, not to mention a two-day International Conference on ‘Land Reform and Non-Violent Land Rights Movement’.
The field visits were organized on 26-27 February 2014 – so Nepali landless, tenants and small holder farmers especially Village/District Land Rights Forums (VLRFs/DLRFs) members can interact with government stakeholders and international participants. Twenty-one international participants and 11 Nepali participants were divided into three groups and visited Mahottari District (East), Nawalparasi District (West) and Rasuwa (Middle region) of Nepal.
International Conference on ‘Land Reform and Non-Violent Land Rights Movement
The International Conference on ‘Land Reform and Non-Violent Land Rights Movement’ was held at the National Land Rights Resource Center in Thimura, Chitwan on 28 – 2nd March, 2014. The three-day conference was enthusiastically conducted in an open atmosphere, touching upon many interesting topics. Participants had a unique opportunity to share ideas and demands, to exchange experiences and discussions, and accordingly to propose measures of collective action and strategies. The program specially focused on non-violent movement; social security; democratisation and people’s rights. At this conference, the participants expressed many original views and made many constructive suggestions on all areas of the conference’s concerns. Further it has also been important to work together, to debate about alternatives and to link our struggles. There was a participation of 85 members including national and international participants.
- Participants had a unique venue for sharing ideas and demands, experiences and discussions, and propose solutions and strategies for collective action.
- The prioritization of mass movement and active non-violence in the struggle for land rights leading towards social transformation
- Field visit program provided a clear understanding to international delegates on the working modalities of CSRC and NLRF through a direct interaction with Nepali farmer leaders, especially VLRF members and DLRF members. Similarly the community people also gained different country experience on non-violent land rights movement.
- All political parties (including influential Members of Parliament, political leaders on land/agrarian reform, Government of Nepal) were brought together for one collective goal and discussion – to collaborate on land reform initiatives.
- Enhanced knowledge and skill on land rights movement, and land/agrarian reform models among Nepali farmers leaders, land rights activists, land rights team, as well as international participants – which will hopefully contribute to action in their respective countries
- Influence to endorse ‘National Reform Action Plan’
- Strengthened alliance, networking and coordination for the exchange of ideas and experiences
After these activities, CSRC intends to:
- hold regular discussion with political parties about their position and review their manifesto and political documents.
- organise field visit events, discussion with community people by expert, ex government officials, minister and academician.
- develop political document of national land rights forum with clear position and strategy for land reform.
- bring the experts and activists from other countries for idea sharing mainly focused on constitution building process and land reform agenda.
Read CSRC’s report on the International Conference on Agrarian Questions and Comprehensive Solutions.
On 29 August 2013, India’s Lok Sabha (Parliament) passed the Land Acquisition, Resettlement, and Rehabilitation Bill. For it to become law, the bill needs to be passed by the upper house. When passed, farmers will receive as much as four times the market rate for land.
This bill has been a long time coming, since many unjust and forcible land acquisitions – land grabbing – have been made in the name of the archaic Land Acquisition Act of 1894, which clearly needs to be superseded by a just and humane legislation. Some of these unfair land acquisitions have been quashed by the High Courts and the Supreme Court. The bill was introduced in Parliament in September 2011 by the Ministry of Rural Development.
AVARD, in its 2012 land reform monitoring report (as part of the LWA CSO land reform monitoring initiative), notes that the bill “does have some positive provisions such as adequate compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement, prior consultation, social impact assessment. However, it cautions that while the bill is expected to promote the well-being of rural poor and areas, this piece of legislation shall in the end facilitate land acquisition for industrialization, development of essential infrastructure facilities and urbanization, without any vision of rational land use and any consideration for rural people, their livelihoods and lives.”
The bill is available online at the Ministry of Rural Development’s website. Click here.
To read the news article (from Reuters) on the bill, please click here.
Farmers and agrarian reform advocates marched around the Quezon City Memorial Circle in the Philippines last 3 June demanding the completion of land distribution under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER). Carrying the message “Lupa para sa Magsasaka, Pagkain para sa Lahat” (“Land for the Farmers, Food for All”), farmers gathered in front of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to protest against the slow pace of land distribution in the country. The march, organized by the People’s Campaign for Agrarian Reform Network (AR Now!), was followed by a national forum on agrarian reform. DAR undersecretaries gave presentations on the agency’s measures to ensure the completion of land redistribution as well as support services.
Moreover, DAR and AR Now! inked a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen monitoring of DAR’s performance in achieving land distribution targets.
Last 11 February, Land Watch Asia – Philippines members: the Center for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (CARRD), the Philippine Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas (PhilDHRRA), and ANGOC participated in a dialogue on budget monitoring between CSOs and key officials of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), including Secretary Virgillio delos Reyes. DAR initiated the consultation for the preparation of the agency’s 2014 budget proposal, which is a move toward transparency and collaboration.
At the forum, PhilDHRRA’s National Coordinator Divina Lopez asked DAR to specify the entry points for civil society with regard to the agency’s budget monitoring. CARRD’s Executive Director, Edwin Nerva shared findings from their report on agrarian justice delivery, Rationalizing public expenditures in agrarian justice delivery. For example, a major finding was that due to the automatic appropriations of fund savings as year-end financial incentives, provincial staff are more likely to limit their expenses, to the extent that farmers are forced to shoulder expenses in dispute resolution. Mr. Nerva asked how DAR can prevent this issue. Moreover, he asked how the DAR-CSO partnership on budget monitoring can be strengthened. DAR executives responded that issues will be addressed in further consultations with CSOs.
For more information, please read the original article, as well as other CARRD updates here:
Download CARRD’s publication Rationalizing public expenditures in agrarian justice delivery.
Hooda sent this signal while interacting with reporters at the state headquarters. Already two ministers in the Hooda Cabinet have mooted the proposal of adopting the PPP mode to deal with farmer protests in the land acquisition.
They have proposed that the state could come out with an option where the farmers or land owner losing the property can get 20% share of the developed projects. This could be applicable for all projects except the case of acquiring land for infrastructure development.
Read the rest of this entry
On 16-17 September, twelve participants from various Asian CSOs as well as the Rome-based International Land Coalition (ILC) gathered in a regional workshop in Bangkok to exchange ideas on the draft Land Reform Monitoring Framework for CSOs being developed by ANGOC.
The said framework seeks to be CSO-led, relevant, doable, strategic and sustainable. During the workshop, participants shared their experiences in pilot testing the proposed indicators, and discussed indicators for monitoring based on relevance, feasibility and data availability and quality.
The group agreed on focusing efforts towards developing indicators at the national level, since these will more adequately reflect a country’s particular situation but at the same time should include common regional indicators for monitoring.
The framework is part of a broader monitoring initiative to enhance CSOs’ existing platforms and campaigns at various levels and strengthen CSOs capacity to monitor land reform implementation, especially at analyzing budgets, policies, land tenure and access to land.
The workshop is the last of a series of activities towards developing and finalizing the framework for CSOs. An electronic consultation, roundtable discussion, pilot studies, and an experts’ meeting have been conducted as inputs to the framework.
ANGOC’s CSO land reform monitoring project is also linked to the International Land Coalition (ILC)’s land reform initiative (LRI), which aims to ensure evidence is gathered on land access and tenure of the poor and vulnerable groups, and to make sure that this yields impact on policy and supports reforms.
The report of the proceedings is presently being prepared.
For more information on ANGOC’s CSO Land Reform Monitoring Initiative, please read the briefer at http://www.angoc.org/Pages/cso-land-monitoring.html . (Photo courtesy of PAFID)
No less than 8,975 farmers and agricultural workers are pinning their hopes of finally getting land under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) in the event the Supreme Court (SC) junks the already invalidated stock distribution offer (SDO) implemented in Hacienda Luisita.
The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said Monday these farmers and workers work in 14 plantations in Tarlac, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Iloilo and Davao del Sur.
The KMP said the biggest is still Hacienda Luisita, which has 4,916 hectares of land covered by the SDO and beneficiaries numbering 6,296.
The Hacienda Luisita SDO was approved on Nov. 11, 1989, or more than two years after former President Cory Aquino announced her agrarian reform program that would cover all plantations producing a variety of crops.
At five members per household, the total number of people affected is about 50,000. (Read full article, click here)
CARPER FOR HACIENDA LUISITA MOVEMENT
August 13, 2010
Hacienda Luisita farm workers, together with a broad coalition of farmers, farm workers, agrarian reform advocates, civil society, academe, legal experts and church figures today came out in full force to denounce the Hacienda Luisita compromise deal and President Aquino’s hands-off policy on the matter.
“The compromise agreement now being railroaded by the Cojuangcos ensures that the abject conditions in the massive plantation will remain the same, and even worsen,” declared Renato Lalic, President of the Farm workers Agrarian Reform Movement in Hacienda Luisita (FARM).
Together with other representatives from the CARPER for the Hacienda Luisita Movement, FARM and luminaries such as Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila, Atty. Christian Monsod, Akbayan Rep. Kaka Bag-ao and other groups called on PNoy to get off the fence and fulfill his promise to see Luisita ‘redistributed within five years’, as he promised during the campaign.
“PNoy will condemn the Luisita beneficiaries to a lifetime of servitude and worsening poverty if he chooses to stay mum and in doing so, legitimize the compromise deal,” added Bishop Pabillo. “This goes against the promise of change and of following the righteous path that PNoy said would be the trademark of his administration.
“Such sweet promises now leave a bad taste in the mouth given PNoy’s inability to rise above his own personal interests,” added Bag-ao.
“The bitter reality moreover is that the compromise agreement has the imprint of coercion written all over it,’ added Lalic.”This agreement did not go through the requisite process of broad consultations and thorough review by the beneficiaries themselves.”
Lalic said that there have been reports of confusion among those who signed the agreement on just how much cash payouts they would receive, how much land would be given to each and the very list of the beneficiaries itself is suspect and has not been validated.
“The signatures being gathered by HLI is without an informed consent, forged as it is by dubious representation for the farmer and farm workers,” added Lalic.
FARM members, beneficiaries of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program in Hacienda Luisita boycotted the compromise agreement and have instead called on the implementation of CARPER in the disputed sugar hacienda. CARPER provides for compulsory acquisition of lands and eliminated spurious schemes such as the SDO to ensure effective ownership of the land by farmers themselves.
“It is therefore crucial for the Supreme Court to lift the restraining order against the Presidential Agrarian Reform council resolution invalidating the SDO and subjecting Luisita to coverage under CARP,” added Atty. Christian Monsod.
Monsod said, “the SC should not even hear this case filed by the Luisita management for the recognition of this compromise deal because this should fall under the jurisdiction of DAR.”
Monsod will represent FARM which is one of the petitioners in the Supreme Court case when it resumes oral arguments on August 18. Monsod together with H4HLM and FARM will file a motion for the SC to refer the compromise deal to DAR while the SC rules on the SDO issue.
“A resolution unfavorable to farmer beneficiaries will definitely haunt him for the next six years,” warned Bag-Ao. “PNoy said pwede na ulit mangarap, but does that mean poor Filipinos can dream about anything except owning their own land?”###
For inquiries, please call Ms. Joann Fernandez of Rights Network at 09198007010 and Mr. Eugene Tecson of Centro Saka, Inc. at 09287389071.
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Representatives of Miaoli County farmers protesting against the government expropriation of their land were allowed to enter the Presidential Office Building for two minutes Sunday after an overnight sit-in event.
The Miaoli County Government’s plan to take over 28 hectares of farmland in the village of Tapu for the expansion of Chunan Science Park has met with strong opposition from farmers who accuse the government of colluding with Big Business.
The representatives demanded amendments to the laws ruling the expropriation of land, a conference about farmers and land rights within six months, and safeguards for the protection of valuable land.
The farmers began their protest on Saturday and spent the night on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office Building. They turned part of the wide road into a field by rolling out patches covered with plants while also paying their respects to farming deities. (for more, click http://www.etaiwannews.com/etn/news_content.php?id=1322247&cate_img=logo_taiwan&cate_rss=TAIWAN_eng)