Back to What's in this Issue?

During a solidarity visit to Brazil in 2010, the Social Movement Working Group established several priorities for action around the issue of right to land and natural resources. These include: efforts to promote stronger international recognition of human rights related to lands, support to communities confronting forced displacement as a result of large development projects and schemes, and actions undertaken in solidarity with social movements and grassroots organizations.

Also if you haven't had a chance to view the ESCR-Net's Social Movement Working Group's first documentary film project, Human Rights For the People and By the People: Securing Economic, Social and Cultural Rights from Below, please do! The film illustrates common challenges faced by social movements (particularly connecting local struggles to the changing international context), effective human rights strategies (and related lessons), and successful examples of, or guidance for, beneficial collaborations.

Human Rights and Land

On September 15, 2011 ESCR-Net and the International Council on Human Rights Policy convened a meeting in Geneva to discuss the issue of human rights and land which sought to identify and analyze the key challenges inherent in promoting human rights related to land; clarify the opportunities and challenges presented by several different approaches to promoting human rights to land, and define strategies and opportunities for joint action. Numerous members and partners of the Network have expressed interest in this topic, and ESCR-Net is committeed to facilitating information exchange and relevant strategic discussion on this topic of common interest.

Documenting experiences of social movements utilizing human rights

In partnership with member Terra de Direitos, ESCR-Net is developing a manual that aims to document experiences by social movements related to the strategic utilization of international human rights mechanisms and frameworks to promote rights related to access to, use of and control over lands, territories and natural resources. The cases featured in the manual are based on the contributions of several members of the Social Movement Working Group and the editorial insights of many organizations and movements. The enhanced production and multi-media (and multi-lingual) dissemination of the manual in 2012 is currently being planned.

Project: Strategic Support to Communities Confronting Development-Induced Forced Displacement

ESCR-Net has begun coordinating a project that seeks to promote human rights issues in situations of forced displacement caused by large-scale development projects. A mapping exercise consisting of some 40 in-depth interviews and substantial desk research has recently been concluded. The preliminary results were shared with experts on forced displacement and evictions at a recent Expert Consultation organized by UN-Habitat and the final report is soon forthcoming. Plans are now underway to hold a workshop on the topic in February in South Africa in conjunction with Legal Resources Centre and, following this event, an international mission will be carried out to lend direct support to communities affected by a specific situation of forced displacement carried out in the name of "development."

Solidarity Actions

On Friday, September 23, 2011, ESCR-Net together with several international and Kenyan members organized a delegation of international human rights experts to Sinai, an informal settlement in Nairobi that was the site of an explosion of an oil pipeline which killed over 160 on September 12. The former UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing and spokesperson for the delegation, Miloon Kothari, expressed condolences to the survivors of this tragedy, recalled the duty of the government to avoid the eviction of residents whenever possible, and underscored the need to adhere to internationally recognized standards in situations whereby families must be relocated in the name of public safety. See here for more information about the case and the delegation.


Please contact Thea Gelbspan if you are interested in finding out more and how to get involved at: tgelbspan [at]