Global Land News Summaries April 29 - May 5

Global headlines on land, resources, land rights and indigenous peoples. Please add comments to this topic thread to discuss the news stories or add ones we missed.

04.29 .2015 – Mali: Unearthing a Libyan land deal Reuters In one of the largest land deals – the Malibya project – Mali offered 100,000 hectares in the Office du Niger to the Libyan government under late leader Muammar Gaddafi… Several thousand farmers living in the concession area worry foreign investors might throw them off their ancestral lands if stability returns to Libya.

04.29 .2015 – Cameroon: Socfin-Bolloré plantations - Second factory blocked by local communities International Alliance of Communities around the Socfin-Bolloré Plantations & ReAct While the Socapalm factory in Dibombarri, western Cameroon, is blocked by surrounding communities since last Thursday (23 April), the Socapalm plantation in Mbongo is now paralysed since yesterday morning (28 April) by local communities demanding the return of their confiscated lands…

04.29 .2015 – Uganda: 93 Families Affected by Oil Fields Stranded New Vision Three years down the road, 93 households in Buseruka, Hoima district are still waiting for the land Government promised to relocate them after theirs was taken for oil and gas exploration and production.

04.29.2015 – India: 36,000 Hectares of Forest Land Diverted for Infrastructure Projects The Economic Times Last year 35,867 hectares of forest lands were diverted for infrastructure projects last year, including road and railway projects. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is drafting new guidelines for diversion of forest land under the Forest Conservation Act (1980) in compliance with the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers Act (Recognition of Forest Rights Act) of 2006, which is administered by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.

04.29.2015 – Myanmar: Delayed Land Use Forum Scheduled for June The Myanmar Times A national forum to finalise a draft national land-use policy will be held in Nay Pyi Taw in June, an official involved in the process said yesterday, almost six months after originally planned. U Tin Maung Than, a director at the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry, which is responsible for developing the policy, said the forum would feature “wide stakeholder participation”, including land rights activists.

04.29.2015 – Belize: Government Does Not Accept Communal Rights Concept; Accepts Mayan Human Rights 7 News Belize Last week, when the Caribbean Court of Justice met in Belize, Government agreed to respect those rights. The Maya Leaders Alliance and the Toledo Alcaldes’ Association took this as a victory – but today the Prime Minister qualified the government’s position.

04.30.2015 – World: Banks and Pension Funds Continue to Bankroll Deforestation and Land Grabs The Guardian It’s right to hold destructive palm oil companies to account, but until we look to the organisations funding their activities we’re missing an important part of the puzzle.

04.30.2015 – Uganda: CSOs Want Proposed Land Amendment Revised New Vision Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have expressed concern over the proposed amendment to Article 26 of the Constitution on land acquisition by Government saying it would disrupt citizens’ right to own property.

04.30.2015 – India: Dumka Tribal Outfit Gives Land Rights to Women The Times of India The Mode Manjhi (conventional body of Santhal tribals) in its meeting at Gujisimal village, under Shikaripara block of the district awarded rights on five bighas of land to a woman for the first time.

04.30.2015 – India: Watch What Happens When Tribal Women Manage India’s Forests Inter Press Service News Agency At the forefront of the movement are tribal communities in states like Odisha who are determined to make full use of a 2012 amendment to India’s Forest Rights Act (FRA) to claim titles to their land, on which they can carve out a simple life, and a sustainable future for their children. Women have emerged as the natural leaders of efforts to implement these legal amendments, as they have traditionally managed forestlands, sustainably sourcing food, fuel and fodder for the landless poor…

04.30.2015 – India: With Allies’ and Opposition’s Untied Criticism, is PM Modi on Backfoot for First Time? The Economic Times "We all have to think where we went wrong, which wrong turn did we take, what did we do wrong before, what did we do wrong in the past 10 months," the prime minister told fellow parliamentarians on April 23.

04.30.2015 – Cambodia: Villagers Fence off Land Given to Vietnamese Company Radio Free Asia About 300 villagers from a commune in remote northeastern Cambodia started erecting a fence on Thursday around land they claim that a Vietnamese company has encroached upon, leaving them without a safe haven should floods occur, those familiar with the situation said.

04.30.2015 – Indonesia: West Papua Oil Palm Atlas – The companies behind the plantation explosion awasMIFEE The West Papua Oil Palm Atlas, published by awasMIFEE, Pusaka and six other organisations, is an attempt to provide a picture of this developing industry. The aim is to be part of a process to push for more open and accessible information about resource exploitation industries in West Papua.

04.30.2015 – Indonesia: Government Willing to Mediate Land Disputes Provided Claims Reasonable Borneo Post Online The State government is prepared to help settle land dispute cases between plantation owners and claimants of Native Customary Rights (NCR) land outside of court if both parties are willing to resolve them. The government is also prepared to give the natives land either under Section 6 or 7 of the Land Code.

04.30.2015 – Indonesia: Just One Map to a Better Future Forests News Blog, CIFOR The Indonesian Minister of Agrarian and Spatial Planning, Ferry Mursyidan Baldan, said that the country is working on implementing the One Map policy that will make significant steps toward solving conflicts over land tenure, land degradation, land use conversion, and even poverty and unemployment. It will also assist law enforcement officials tasked with monitoring land use.

04.30.2015 – Philippines: Peasant Leader Killed in Compostela Valley Bulatlat …“We can only blame the Aquino regime and the military for Carbajosa’s death. Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan (OpBay) has victimized hundreds of activists and leaders of mass organizations critical to the administration,” said Antonio Flores, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas secretary general. Flores said that most of the 130 activists killed under Aquino are either farmers or land reform advocates. These human rights violations are a result of military deployment in areas where there are land disputes, he added.

04.30.2015 – Mexico: Two Killed, One Wounded in 45-Year Land Dispute Mexico News Daily Land disputes between indigenous communities in the southern Sierra of Oaxaca continue to simmer, occasionally boiling over as one did on Tuesday when two people lost their lives.

05.01.2015 – Kenya: Loita Maasais Long Search for their Forest’s Future AllAfrica The forest faces major challenges from within and without of the community. From the increasing external interventions by the county officials and other communities together with state agencies, the people have been struggling to maintain access and control of the forest.

05.01.2015 – Bangladesh: Indigenous Jumma People Vow to Launch “Non-Cooperation Movement” India Country Today Media Network The Jumma or “Hill People” of the Chittagong Hill Tracts are demanding the country fully implement a 1997 treaty known as the CHT Peace Accord. The pact was intended to settle violence and restore lost lands in the jungles where the Jumma have claimed as their ancestral territory. But indigenous leaders complain the government has been slow to fully implement the agreement.

05.01.2015 – Australia: Thousands Join Protests Against Indigenous Community Closures The Guardian Tens of thousands of Australians have taken part in protests throughout the country in a fight against the forced closure of Aboriginal communities in Western Australia, with some continuing into Friday night.

05.01.2015 – Australia: Land Councils Get Behind Noel Pearson Recognition Plan The Australian Support for Noel Pearson’s model of indigenous recognition is growing, with land councils from NSW and Western Australia backing his plan for a declaration outside of the constitution. They have also endorsed Mr. Pearson’s push for a new constitutional body to consult on policy decisions, saying it would provide indigenous groups with certainty and improve the chances of a successful referendum on recognition.

05.02.2015 – World: New Report Mining, Resettlement and Lost Livelihoods Oxfam Oxfam, in collaboration with the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining (CSRM), has released a new report entitled “Mining, Resettlement and Lost Livelihoods - Listening to the Voices of Resettled Communities in Mualadzi, Mozambique.” The report presents experiences of involuntary resettlement from the perspective of people who are recovering from mining-induced displacement in Tete province. Available in English and Portuguese at:

05.02.2015 – India: Forced Errors The Economist Making rules about compulsory purchases of land is especially tricky in developing countries.

05.02.2015 – India: A Glass Half Empty for Adivasis The Hindu Even as countrywide protests against the land ordinance gain momentum, Adivasi communities living in mineral-rich areas are apprehensive of what awaits them as the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill 2015 (MMDRA) has received presidential assent and the government has drafted Rules for some clauses of the Act.

05.02.2015 – Thailand: Guidelines for Fighting Forest Encroachers The Nation Justice Minister Paiboon Koom-chaya has told 20 state agencies to set up guidelines to deal with the illegitimate issuance of land-rights documents and forestland encroachment nationwide and presented them at a meeting on May 15.

05.02.2015 – China: Tibetans Arrested in Sangchu Return Home Phayul Two Tibetans who were arrested earlier from Gengya nomadic village in Tibet’s Sangchu County have been released and protests by Tibetans against the arrest have also been called off, reported the Voice of Tibet radio.

05.03.2015 – Myanmar: Moving the Earth: Women Take on Land Aggressors DVB As forced resettlements and farmland seizures continue to form the foundations of the country’s economic transformation, women consistently outnumber men on the front lines of Burma’s land rights rallies.

05.03.2015 – Australian Aboriginals vs. Adani Mining: “We Reject any Land-Use Agreement” The Adani project is proving to be a test case since it is for the first time that indigenous people have refused altogether to negotiate or settle for compensation, resulting in a tough impasse. According to legal opinion gleaned from Australia, the case is “a significant event in the history of native title” that will test the limits of an Aboriginal veto on land use.

05.03.2015– Trinidad and Tobago: Strangers Acquiring Land in Los Iros, Farmers Cry Victimization Trinidad and Tobago Guardian Los Iros farmers are now accusing state officials of facilitating a massive grab for beachfront property in their community.

05.03.2015 – Panama: Guna Yala - The indigenous people beyond Panama’s tourist paradise Mashable Photoessay on the indigenous community of Guna Yala, how they protect and manage their indigenous lands, and a model for community-driven development.

05.03.2015 – United States: Dream of Tribal National Park Crumbling Rapid City Journal After years of work and even a signed agreement, the once-collaborative dream of having the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation be home to the nation’s first tribal national park has degenerated into a bureaucratic standoff.

05.04.2015– World: How to Link Grass-Roots Communities with International Legal Entities - NAMATI Devex A new collaboration between Namati, International Senior Lawyers Project and Avaaz called Lawyers for Resource Justice helps connect grass-roots communities to powerful legal assistance. The initiative sees volunteer international lawyers provide customized legal support to empower vulnerable communities to use the law to protect their rights and amplify their voice internationally. To discuss this item, please go to this topic thread

05.04.2015 - South Africa: Illegal and Grabs Continue in Eldorado Park Eyewitness News The action is being led by the Greater Eldorado Park Civic Association, which says 4,000 people have already marked off areas in the field where they plan to build houses. The people taking part in the land grab are mostly residents from extension six, who say they’ve been waiting for RDP houses for more than 10 years.

05.04.2015– Peru: Indigenous Amazonians Fear Eviction from Lima, their Home for Three Decades The Guardian The community is also unsure if they will be allowed to stay on the land on which they currently live in Cantagallo. “We’re afraid that at any moment he could present us with an eviction letter and our people don’t have any where else to go,” said Ahuanari.

05.05.2015– Zimbabwe: Tzvangirai MDC on Zanu PF, Land Conflicts VOA Zimbabwe The Movement for Democratic Change formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai says current conflicts within the ruling Zanu PF party, which is allegedly linked to the re-invasion of some farms owned by its members, who were recently kicked out of the organization, is an indication that all is not well in the party.

05.05.2015–Israel: Supreme Court Allows State to Replace Bedouin Village with Jewish One Haaretz Israel’s Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a petition by residents of the unrecognized Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran against their removal and the demolition of the community – in order to construct a new town for Jewish residents in its place.

05.05.2015– Cambodia: Hundreds of Villagers Halt Clearing of Land in Preah Vihear Radio Free Asia On Monday, more than 300 villagers formed a human barrier, blocking bulldozers owned by the two companies from clearing what they said was their ancestral farmland and operating outside of the boundaries set by their concessions. The company agreed to suspend clearing the land after being confronted by villagers.

05.05.2015– Australia: Northern Territory Land Hand Back 38 Years in the Making ABC News Traditional owners will today be handed back more than 200 hectares of land on the Gulf of Carpentaria, completing the first land claim made in 1977 under the Land Rights Act.

05.04.2015– Peru: Reclusive Amazon Tribe Kills Peruvian Man with Arrow as Outsiders Encroach on their Land Fusion Indigenous rights groups say these incidents are occurring as the Mascho Piro get displaced from their traditional land by illegal loggers, which has made them more aggressive with strangers.