Global Land News Summaries July 21 - 29

Lands news from around the world - including new reports on land grabbing for palm oil in Liberia and challenges and controversies faced by large plantations developments in Senegal, Cameroon and Mozambique. Add your comments and questions below!

Global: The Land Battle – 15 Organizations Defending Land Rights

July 29, 2015 These 15 organizations – including Namati – work protect the land rights of farmers and their communities and bring greater transparency to development projects.

Mexico: President Orders Expropriation of Native Lands for Freeway Project

July 28, 2015 “It is clear that agrarian law has served to legalize the displacement of native and indigenous groups, not only in Xochicuautla. There is also opposition to La Parota Dam in the state of Guerrero and to the construction of an aqueduct in the territory of our friends, the Yaqui Tribe…”

India: Saving forests – Women Sentinels of Gunduribadi

July 28, 2015 The women of Gunduribadi, a small tribal village in Odisha, go out daily for thengapalli or forest patrolling around their village. They are also members of their Forest Protection Committee which decides how to manage the forest and its resources.

Mozambique: Foreign investment in agri-business but not farming?

July 28, 2015 …no new plantation has succeeded since independence. No new plantation investment has yet been profitable. …Instead, growth has come from crops such as tobacco, where small holders grow the crop, and the foreign investor provides inputs and markets. Does this finally reflect a shift in government thinking, that farming should be left to Mozambicans and that the need for foreign investment is elsewhere in the value chain?

Cameroon: The Palm Oil Company at the Centre of a Bitter Land Rights Struggle

July 27, 2015 The country’s biggest producer, Socapalm is trying to further expand production… However, the plans have struggled to overcome objections from the local population… who are opposed to the development of land they consider to belong to them.

India: States Asked to Review All Cases Where Forest Rights Claims Rejected

July 27, 2015 The tribal affairs ministry has asked state governments to review all cases where forest rights claims have been rejected, a move that comes at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s behest and is aimed at fast-tracking settlement of land rights of tribal people under the Forest Rights Act.

Russia: Giving Away One Hectare of Farmland and Forest to its Citizens

July 27, 2015 A new bill gives an opportunity to every Russian citizen to obtain one hectare of land in the Far East for free use for the first five years and then acquire ownership of their land allotments at no cost.

Uganda: Farmers Battle Palm Oil Goliaths for Land

July 25, 2015 As land grabs by local firms linked to multinationals drive small-holder farmers out of business, a rights group behind a bid for compensation by 100 farmers says rights violations and environmental degradation are also at stake.

Senegal: Senhuile land grab on the verge of implosion

July 24, 2015 A new report by Italian researchers shows that the controversial Senhuile project in Senegal is on the verge of collapse. The project, initiated by Italian and Senegalese investors four years ago to produce biofuels, has provoked fierce resistance from affected communities in which six people have died. Its investors claim to have secured the rights to 45,000 hectares of land, though the company has cultivated only a fraction of this…

Cambodia: Land Disputes Down in 2015 Due to ELC Freeze

July 23, 2015 Although the number of land disputes across the country decreased in the first six months of the year—largely due to a freeze on the granting of economic land concessions (ELCs)—little has been done to resolve existing disputes, according to a report released Wednesday by rights group Adhoc.

Liberia: Watchdog Group Accuses Palm Oil Firm of Exploiting Ebola Crisis

July 23, 2015
Related Links: BBC - Liberians ‘pressured to sell land’ for palm oil plantations , Global Witness report Global Witness report alleges that Golden Veroleum exploited the crisis caused by the Ebola epidemic to press poorly informed communities into signing away land at a time when local non-governmental organisations were not present to advise them.

Mozambique: Pro-Savana Will Not Expropriate Land, Government Says

July 23, 2015 The Mozambican government categorically denied that any Mozambicans would lose land because of the Pro-Savana agricultural development programme under way in the north of the country. …But in a question and answer session in the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, deputies of the former rebel movement Renamo insisted that Pro-Savana is a land grab, and that farmers are losing their land.

Latin America: Averting Palm Oil Devastation

July 23, 2015 With rapid growth expected in coming years, this is a critical time for the region to address the downsides of palm oil production before bad practices become habit.

Ethiopia: US, UK, World Bank Among Aid Donors Complicit in Ethiopia’s War on Indigenous Tribes

July 22, 2015 USAID, DFID and the World Bank are among those accused of covering up severe human rights abuses against indigenous peoples in Ethiopia’s Omo Valley, inflicted during forced evictions to make way for huge plantations.

India: Tribals and Forest Dwelling Communities Have Rights over Half of India’s Forests

July 22, 2015 A new study has revealed that India’s 2006 Forest Rights Act (FRA) has the potential to recognize the rights of approximately 150 million forest dwellers on at least 40 million hectares of forested land.

South Africa: Report Finds that Land Reform is Hurting Workers

July 22, 2015 Compliance with laws such as land tenure for workers has eroded farmers’ profits and many workers were now hired on a casual basis, with fewer living on farms and instead moving to informal settlements in nearby towns.

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