Land and Natural Resources

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The Yakye Axa community, a Paraguayan indigenous community belonging to the Lengua Enxet Sur people, filed a complaint with the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) alleging Paraguay had failed to acknowledge its right to property over ancestral land. Given its impossibility to solve the case, the Commission referred it to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

The Mayagna Awas (Sumo) Tingni Community lives in the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua and is made up of approximately 142 families. Jaime Castillo Felipe, a leader of the community, lodged a petition before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) denouncing the State of Nicaragua for failing to demarcate the Awas Tingni Community's communal land and to take the necessary measures to protect the Community's property rights over its ancestral lands and natural resources.

400 people who had been evicted from adjacent municipal land settled on the private Modderklip farm in 2000. In April 2001 an eviction order was issued, but the occupiers had no place to go and failed to comply.  The numbers of occupiers continued to increase and the sheriff demanded a deposit of 1.8 million rand – more than the land was worth to carry out the eviction.   

Port Elizabeth Municipality filed an eviction application in response to a neighbourhood petition against 68 adults and children occupying shacks erected on privately owned land.  They had been living on this undeveloped land for between two to eight years and were willing to vacate the property subject to reasonable notice and suitable alternative land.

Five joined communications alleged the existence of slavery and analogous practices in Mauritania and of institutionalized racial discrimination perpetrated by the ruling Moor community against the more populous black community. It was alleged, amongst other things, that black Mauritanians were enslaved, routinely evicted or displaced from their lands, which were then confiscated by the government along with their livestock.  It also was alleged that black Mauritanians were denied access to employment and were subjected to tedious and unremunerated work.

Country: 
India
Working Group(s) / Area(s) of Work: 
OP-ICESCR
Country: 
Kenya
Working Group(s) / Area(s) of Work: 
OP-ICESCR

The Bhe judgment concerned three related cases (Bhe, SAHRC and Shibi), which were decided together. In the first action, the father of applicants, Nonkuleleko and Anelisa Bhe (aged 9 and 2), had died, and the mother (the third applicant) brought an action to secure the deceased's property for her daughters. Under the African customary law rule of primogeniture as well as section 23 of the Black Administration Act, the house became the property of the eldest male relative of the father, in this case the grandfather.

Representatives of the Lamenxay and Kayleyphapopyet indigenous communities, both of the Enxet-Sanapana people, started proceedings aimed at recovering their ancestral land, which had been sold by the Paraguayan State to private persons. After five years of the State's failure to comply with a court decision acknowledging the constitutional land right of one of the communities, in 1996 a petition was filed with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights against the State of Paraguay.