Monday, April 22, 2013

Locals need more legal rights in big African land deals

Chelsea Diana in AlertNet: Can legal reforms help affected communities have a bigger say about African land deals? As negative impacts of large commercial land acquisitions are exposed, people who feel wronged by them are becoming more engaged and searching for ways to take action, research shows. Ensuring they have, and know about, legal rights could help, experts say.

Large-scale land deals in can offer benefits, such as job opportunities, market access and infrastructure improvements, supporters say. But critics note that they also can lead to local people losing control of land, and can spur economic conflict in local communities.

A report, published by the International Institute for Environmental Development (IIED) this month, looks at the ways citizens respond when they see land deals as unjust. These efforts include letter writing, requesting an audience with authorities, forming negotiating groups and using the courts to work through their legal options, as well as staging protests.

Looking at the legal frameworks in 12 African countries, including Mozambique, Tanzania and Liberia, and 16 large-scale land deals, the research found too few legal options available for local groups in comparison to laws protecting investors, governments and communities. ...

A field in Tanzania, shot by Hansueli Krapf, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

No comments: