Blog Archives

Asian People’s Land Rights Tribunal – now online!

We are glad to share our newest publication, Asian People’s Land Rights Tribunal: Land Rights are Human Rights.

APLRT front pageThis publication is a report of the proceedings of the Asian People’s Land Rights Tribunal held last 16-17 January 2014 Quezon City, Philippines.

It features the four cases presented by the aggrieved communities in Cambodia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. This publication also includes recommendations for the communities and key principles for responsible investment addressed to national government and international organizations.

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Karawang farmers defend land from corporate eviction

This news piece from Revolution News! reports on the tensions rising in the village of Karawang in Indonesia, where 1,200 peasants have been evicted from the land they have lived on for generations – to make way for the factory expansion of Agung Pomodoro. Last 24 June 2014, farmers protested in defense of their land from corporate interests – coming face-to-face with 7,000 fully equipped riot police forces. Our Jakarta-based Land Watch partner, the Consortium for Agrarian Reform (KPA) reports on the violence that erupted: 10 workers assaulted and one farmer shot by riot police; 13 people were arrested.

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.

Mr. Krishna Raj BC, Acting Secretary Ministry of Land Reform and Management (Chair of the Session)

Mr. Krishna Raj BC, Acting Secretary Ministry of Land Reform and Management (Chair of the Session)

Honorable Mr. Keshav Badal, Parliament Member and Chair of Badaal High Level Land Reform Commission

Honorable Mr. Keshav Badal, Parliament Member and Chair of Badaal High Level Land Reform Commission

 

Honorable Dr. Yuwaraj Khatiwada, Governor of Central Bank of Nepal

Honorable Dr. Yuwaraj Khatiwada, Governor of Central Bank of Nepal

From left, Ms. Jill Car-Harish (II); Honorable Mr. Keshav Badal; Mr. Krishna Raj BC, (MoLRM); Honorable Dr. Yuwaraj Khatiwada(Central Bank);Dr. Madiodio Niasse, (ILC)

From left, Ms. Jill Car-Harish (II); Honorable Mr. Keshav Badal; Mr. Krishna Raj BC, (MoLRM); Honorable Dr. Yuwaraj Khatiwada(Central Bank);Dr. Madiodio Niasse, (ILC)

Glimpse of Second Day International Conference, Different Political Party representatives participating in Round Table Discussion Program

Glimpse of Second Day International Conference, Different Political Party representatives participating in Round Table Discussion Program

Dr. Madiodio Niasse, Director of International Land Coalition

Dr. Madiodio Niasse, Director of International Land Coalition

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’.

Field visits 

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.

Discussion with DLRF Nawalparasi District

Discussion with DLRF Nawalparasi District

Discussion with Pipalbot VLRF of Rasuwa District

Discussion with Pipalbot VLRF of Rasuwa District

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.

International Conference on 'Land Reform and Non- Violent Land Rights Movement

International Conference on ‘Land Reform and Non-Violent Land Rights Movement

Highlights 

  • 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

Next steps 

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.

Updates from Bangladesh

ALRD and allies successfully stop grabbing/commercialization of wetlands

Dhaka – Wetlands are diminishing due to rapid scaling up of land commercialization by land grabbers, creating environmental hazards and ecological imbalance. In Bangladesh, which faces the threat of climate change, wetland conservations is immensely important.

On 16 January 2014, a special Bench of the High Court Division on 16 January, 2014 declared as illegal the Ashyan Group’s Housing Protect – Ashyan City – occupying 230.46 acres wetlands near Dhaka, and directed the group to pay a fine of 5 million takas.

This marks a success for ALRD, which, in association with seven rights-based organizations, namely Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA), Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK), Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST), Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon, Institute of Architects Bangladesh, Nijera Kori, and Paribesh Banchao Andolon, filed a writ petition in the High Court Division last 22 December 2012 against Ashiyan Group.  

1,500 landless peasants secure access to khas land at Bilkuralia of Pabna district  

On 20 January 2014, the District Magistrate of Bangladesh’s Pabna district vacated the attachment order that was given in December 1961 by the then Magistrate Court of Pabna to maintain status quo over the land. The attachment order had been a legal barrier behind the access to land under permanent settlement. Landless peasants, including indigenous peoples, numbering 1,500, were allocated khas land totaling 473.23 acres on temporary lease term from 1997-1998 fiscal year to 2012-2013. ALRD and its network partner- LDO- advocated for the land with technical and financial support provided to the petitioners of landless peasants. 

Image

Landless peasants of Bilkuralia, Bangladesh in a procession, demanding access to land

As a result of removal order/legal barrier, about 1,500 landless families of Bilkuralia have now access to permanent allocation of the said land is a major milestone for plain land IPs’ land rights movement.  

Activist pushes for land rights agenda in elections [India]

We are sharing with you an article on PV Rajagopal of Ekta Parishad, and the strides they are making in influencing the land reform agenda. Moreover, Ekta Parishad is organising a dialogue from 14 to 20 December during the winter parliament in India to motivate government to take concrete steps towards land reforms and Homestead Act implementation.  # 

Cambodian NGOs comment on RGC’s Universal Periodic Review Midterm Report

Last 2 June, a group of Cambodian NGOs spearheaded by  Development Partners in Action (DPA), Equitable Cambodia, the NGO Forum on Cambodia (NGOF), Housing Rights Taskforce (HRTF), Urban Poor Women Development (UPWD), and World Vision Cambodia (WVC) submitted to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Cambodia comments to the midterm report of the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) on the implementation of the 91-point recommendations from the UPR’s 1st Cycle, focusing on land and housing rights. The UPR is a special process that reviews governments’ track records in human rights. The report presents issues, questions to UN bodies, and recommendations, and is then submitted to the UN council as evidence for debate with states signatory to UN treaties.

The NGOs’ comments cover the legislative framework (measures should be taken to implement laws protecting land tenure rights and ensure the compliance of private sector); systematic land registration (avoid excluding lands especially urban lands occupied by the poor); indigenous peoples’ land rights (upholding communal land registration of indigenous peoples’ lands); resettlement (provide services in relocation sites and improve resettlement strategies); forced evictions (place a moratorium on forced evictions until legal and policy framework are in accordance with international human rights law) ; and the land dispute resolution mechanism (assessing and strengthening such mechanisms).

Among many serious land rights violations, these comments are based on the alarming rise in forced evictions and land disputes in Cambodia, usually caused by economic land concessions and private sector development.

The NGO Forum on Cambodia is part of the Land Watch Asia campaign. For more information, please contact NGO Forum on Cambodia.


Please see here for NGO Forum on Cambodia’s case study on the impact of the RGC’s Directive 1 on Indigenous Peoples.

If you are interested to read the NGOs’ comments, please download the document here. 

Haryana land acquisition policy revision likely

The Times of India
TNN, Feb 23, 2011, 01.16am IST
NEW DELHI: Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Tuesday hinted at including more changes in the land acquisition policy in the larger interest of farmers.

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

Indian tribals enter their land

by Ekta Parishad, Land Watch Asia member, India

Madhya Pradesh, India — After eight years of struggle, 41 out of 94 small land owners from Lahroni village of Karahal Block, Sheopur District managed to get their land demarcated this February 2011. Demarcation is going on for the other lands.

The case goes back to 2003, when 94 families (74 tribals and 20 dalits beneficiaries) of Lahroni village were given pattas( land entitlements) by the Madhya Pradesh government. These families were given only the entitlement papers but not the physical possession of the land. It was also not yet demarcated.

The total area of land is 130 hectares. There were also six beneficiaries of Bhoodan Land (donated land collected by Eminent leader Vinoba Bhave), who have entitlement papers since 1990, but not land possession. The people had land documents in their hands but did not know where their lands were. After lobbying the local Patwari (revenue employee) showed them the land but it was still not demarcated. They found that their land was already occupied by non-tribal peoples from outside Madhya Pradesh. Read the rest of this entry

ANGOC convenes workshop on Land monitoring

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)

Call for Proposals: GSDI Small Grants Program

The Global Spatial Data Infrastructure Association is pleased to announce its Small Grants Program for the year 2010-11

Awards for spatial data infrastructure or Earth Observations Systems
(EOS)-related activities in economically disadvantaged nations,

  • Application deadline of 31 October 2010,
  • 4000 words maximum,
  • Awards of $2500 USD in cash and/or contributed volunteer professional services for the project

The Global Spatial Data Infrastructure (GSDI) Association is dedicated to international cooperation and collaboration in support of local, national, and international spatial data infrastructure developments that would allow nations to better address social, economic, and environmental issues of pressing importance. We are committed to bringing about an infrastructure that will allow users globally access spatial data at a variety of scales from multiple sources that ultimately will appear seamless to all users.

The GSDI Association supports the work of organizations to develop their own Spatial Data Innfrastructure (SDI) initiatives, nationally and regionally, and collaborates with local, national, and international organizations to ensure that spatial data, services, and metadata are accessible through interoperable standards-based services, systems, software, and products that operate in a web-enabled environment.

Read more at the International Land Coalition ILC’s official website

via Call for Proposals: GSDI Small Grants Program.