Panel 9: GOVERNANCE – Human Rights

Evictions and land conflicts in general represent situations in which human rights are very likely to be violated. This is true in all cases where the land is taken without respecting basic international standards such as a prior comprehensive impact assessment, consultation, free prior and informed consent, compensation and rehabilitation.

The recent phenomenon of foreign states and companies taking possession of large surfaces in countries where hunger, vulnerability to climate changes and extreme poverty are far from being solved, poses not only the immediate problems of violating the human rights to adequate food and housing, water and personal security linked to land conflicts and evictions, but also the issue of reduced land availability. Land grabbing, even where there are no related forced evictions, drastically reduces land availability for land scarce groups, reduces the political space for peasant oriented agricultural policies and gears national markets towards agribusiness interests and global markets, rather than sustainable peasant agriculture for local and national markets and for future generations. This is particularly detrimental in societies where the peasantry counts for a large percentage of the population – and where there is considerable population growth – hence the state obligation to provide access to productive resources. From the perspective of human rights, of justice, peace and sustainability, the new trend of foreign investors monopolizing land and related resources in other countries where people will have increasing difficulties to feed themselves can hardly be considered a desirable solution. The panel will present a human rights analysis of the land grabbing phenomenon.

Chair: Sofia Monsalve, Foodfirst Information and Action Network (FIAN)

Sofia Monsalve