Forced land acquisition by the State and private developers displacing thousands of people from lands they have lived in for generations has emerged as a threat to peace and stability in the post-war period.
While a study has been proposed to ascertain the total extent of the forcible acquisition of land and numbers of the displaced through evictions throughout the country, no reliable data is yet available on the magnitude of the problem. A written statement prepared by LST together with partners and submitted to the nineteenth session of the Human Rights Council – More..
Although there have been several peaceful protests by affected groups against these efforts, no coherent campaign or consistent pressure from affected people has emerged to counter the trend nor have the courts proved to be a deterrent against acquisitions which have been clearly outside the law. Several land acquisitions which have occurred in the South have not even been reported in the media. Members of the management committee relied on information from partners as well as media reports of land grabs occurring everywhere in the country, not only in the North and East.
The project identified three main components where LST’s collective programme strengths could be combined: the legal and policy level, strengthening civil society organizations to address violations of land rights through information and advocacy and building the capacity of communities to protect rights and utilize the law. Both the CPR programme and the ESCR programme would be collaborating on the policy components of the project. The ESCR programme focus is on networking of CSOs (in the framework of the People’s Alliance for the Right to Land convened by Oxfam Australia) and human rights advocacy through a regular newsletter published in three languages and situation reports and submissions.
The Objectives of the Land Project are:
1. Formulate land laws and policies based on Justice
2. Promoting development with equity using the Human Rights Based Approach
3. Strengthen community level organizations and activists to advocate for the immediate restoration of land rights, homes and basic services to people who were displaced in the war.
Justice -based Law and Policy pertaining to land
Laws and policies based on justice are those legal provisions and practices that look at people’s rights to land in a fair and equitable manner. Concerns have been raised as to whether the prevailing laws are equitable and if current methods of land acquisition meet even the minimum legal requirements in terms of fairness and equity. It is these concerns that the project hopes to address.