Global Land News Summaries April 8-14 2015

Each week, Namati’s Global Land News volunteers collect and summarize leading land news stories from around the world. We have previously sent these out as emails, but soon we will have a web-based platform where we can share the news stories in a searchable archive and where you can subscribe to weekly email summaries. We will also post the weekly summaries to this group and I encourage you to discuss the news stories or add ones we missed by replying to this topic thread.

Global Land News Summaries April 8-14, 2015

04.08.2015 – Sierra Leone: Protecting Women’s Land Rights in Sierra Leone’s Draft National Land Policy AllAfrica Women in Sierra Leone often encounter difficulties in accessing land under customary law. Sierra Leone’s 2014 Draft National Land Policy aims to address these challenges by establishing inheritance rights for women and children, introducing a system of joint spousal registration for land titles, and increasing women’s institutional representation. However, some gaps remain.

04.08.2015 – Cambodia: Ministry Official Rejects NGO Report on City’s Slums Cambodia Daily World Vision and the NGO Forum have called upon the Phnom Penh municipal government to be more transparent in their land titling practices in their new report, “The Exclusion of Urban Poor Communities From Systematic Land Registration in Phnom Penh.” Phnom Penh is home to more than 500 slum communities, many of whole cannot access land titles because their homes are on state public land.

04.09.2015 – Afghanistan: UN Reports Partisan Free State Land Distribution, Land Grabbing in Afghanistan RTT News A new UN report on land use in Afghanistan shows that there are significant vulnerabilities in the country’s land distribution system that provide an opportunity for individuals to distribute valuable land, including entire townships, at no cost and to whomever they choose.

04.09.2015 – India: Puppet Administration Admits Organized Land Grabbing in IOK Kashmir Media Service The Minister for Forests and Environment admitted, “We have identified some politicians, bureaucrats, forest and police officials who have encroached upon the forest land [in Jammu and Kashmir].”

04.09.2015 – India: Fadnavis for CID Inquiry Against Devasthan Samiti The Times of India Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday said that an enquiry would be launched into the allegations against the Paschim Maharashtra Devasthan Samiti (PMDS), the government-appointed body that monitors the temples, primarily in western Maharashta. The allegations include misappropriation of donated funds, illegal land transfer and cutting of trees by the PMDS without prior permission.

04.10.2015 – Ethiopia: Ethiopian Tribe Starves as Dam and Land Grabs Dry Up River MyDire Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights, has received disturbing reports that the smallest and most vulnerable tribe in Ethiopia’s Lower Omo Valley is starving, as a result of the destruction of their forest and the slow death of the river on which they depend.

04.10.2015 – India: Narendra Modi’s War on the Environment Al Jazeera America Jindal Steel and Power Ltd. (JSPL) is using intimidation to grab land from villagers in Tamnar village in the Raigarh district of the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh.

04.10.2015 – India: Indian Youth Congress Launches Post Card Protest Against Land Bill The Hindu For the second phase of its national campaign against the allegedly anti-farmer ordinance, Indian Youth Congress volunteers are visiting farmers across 4,100 Assembly segments in the country, educating them about the Bill’s potential to infringe upon their land ownership rights and asking each individual to put his or her complaint in writing on a post card addressed to President Pranab Mukherjee.

04.10.2015 – Sri Lanka: Sri Lankan Government to Provide Lands to Estate Families Colombo Page The Sri Lankan government, as pledged in the 100 days program, is taking steps to provide land ownership and proper housing to plantation workers instead of their current confinement in line rooms.

04.10.2015 – Samoa: Customary Lands, Ours to Inherit Samoa Observer Four village leaders filed a letter of complaint against the Asian Development Bank last year over a project they fear could alienate 80 percent of customary land in Samoa. The Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, has rejected claims that the government did not consult members of the public properly about its plan to promote the economic use of customary land.

04.10.2015 – Solomon Islands: DCCG to Re-Establish Customary Land Recording and Registration Process Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Solomon Islands The Democratic Coalition for Change (DCC) Government will re-establish the customary land recording and registration process as a step towards strengthening customary land ownership to make tribal lands available for economic development.

04.11.2015 – India: “We need basic facilities, not airports.” The Times of India Nearly 3,000 villagers, fisherman, daily wage laborers, and activists blocked the Kolkata-Chennai Highway in protest of the planned construction of the Vizag International Airport in Bhogapuram. Villagers have alleged that the government’s proposal to acquire 15,000 acres for the project is unnecessary.

04.12.2015 – Botswana: Parliament Adjourns with Land Policy Debate On AllAfrica The debate surrounding the Land Policy originally presented by the Minister of Lands and Housing in 2013 has been tabled until the next parliamentary session.

04.12.2015 – South Africa: Selection of Land Court Judge President Stalls Business Day Live Judicial Service Commission (JSC) interviews for judge president of the Land Claims Court have been put on ice because of a case pending in the Constitutional Court.

04.12.2015 – Australia: Wangan and Jagalingou People take on Coal Giant Adani Red Flag Indigenous communities in both Western Australia and Queensland are being pressured to concede their land use rights so that the state may profit.

04.13.2015 – Cambodia: Cambodian Activists Released The Diplomat Ten land rights activists from Phnom Penh’s Boeung Kak Lake neighborhood, who had been arrested in November 2014 for protesting, have received a royal pardon.

04.14.2015 – Ethiopians Talk of Violent Intimidation as their Land is Earmarked for Foreign Investors The Guardian Ethiopia has long faced criticism for forcibly relocating tens of thousands of people from their ancestral homes to make way for large-scale commercial agriculture, often benefiting foreign investors. The victims of land grabbing and displacement are given a rare voice in “We Say the Land is Not Yours: Breaking the Silence against Forced Displacement in Ethiopia,” a report from the California-based think tank the Oakland Institute.

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This very interesting article is by our very own @sonkitaconteh! I really enjoyed getting a view into the challenges women face in Sierra Leone due to restrictive customary laws.

The conclusion?

Civil society in general and women’s groups in particular can play a useful role facilitating the transformation of customary law. Women across the country must be informed about these proposed changes so that they can be actively engaged in advocacy, reform, and the establishment of effective accountability mechanisms. Women’s economic empowerment will never be realised if land tenure systems remain skewed and inaccessible to them.

Suggest everyone click through to read the whole article and use the links to share it through facebook and twitter!

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