The Right to Land

Melik Özden

The recognition of the right to land, a historic demand by peasant movements throughout the world, is gaining momentum at the international level. This publication takes stock of this major issue of our times, fundamental not only for all peasants but also for the rest of humanity, at a time when we are rediscovering the importance of peasants for food security and the fulfillment of the right to food, the conservation of biodiversity and the fight against climate change. Whereas hundreds of millions of peasants are still deprived of access to land or survive on tiny plots, others are daily evicted, and land grabbing is increasing. The recognition of a right to land for peasants is more relevant than ever.

This publication is the result of major research and inquiry, and the fruit of close collaboration with La Vía Campesina. It presents the main issues regarding land in rural areas, in particular from the perspective of agriculture and the right to food, and explains why a recognition of the right to land is necessary. Four peasant organizations (from Colombia, France, Indonesia, and Zimbabwe), members of La Vía Campesina, present their struggles for the right to land as well the practices of their governments in land management at the national level. The text also analyzes in detail the content of existing instruments and presents specific examples of jurisprudence that plead in favor of a recognition of the right to land, at the international, regional and national level. Finally, several issues related to the content and implementation of the right to land are revisited, on the basis of the proposals formulated within the framework of the negotiations regarding the Declaration on the rights of peasants at the United Nations Human Rights Council.

View the entire document here.

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