In an unprecedented development, the United Nations Working Group on Discrimination Against Women in Law and Practice recently adopted a position paper on women’s land rights, available on the Working Group’s website. This joint statement from Landesa and our partner organizations from around the globe is issued in support of this position paper in honor of International Day of Rural Women this Sunday, October 15th. Together, we urge that this position paper be widely disseminated and implemented, including compliance by governments.
This is the first position paper on women’s land rights released by a United Nations human rights expert body. It serves to complement and deepen the growing international recognition of the centrality of women’s land rights to human rights and sustainable development. This recognition is most notably articulated by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women’s 2016 General Recommendation No. 34 on Rural Women, and United Nations Women and Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ 2013 publication, “Realizing Women’s Rights to Land and Other Productive Resources.”
International Day of Rural Women
15 October 2017
The International Day of Rural Women recognizes that women bear a disproportionate burden of multi-dimensional poverty, but also elevates the critical role and contribution of rural women – including indigenous women – in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security for their families and communities, and eradicating rural poverty. Women’s rights to land and productive resources are essential to their ability to realize a range of human rights and sustainable development goals. Research demonstrates the empowerment effect of women’s land rights: these rights are often a prerequisite to improving food security, sustainable development, gender equality, and good health. Furthermore, access to secure access to land tenure and rights help to mitigate a woman’s vulnerability to poverty, exploitation, HIV, and gender-based violence.
Earlier this year, the United Nations Working Group on Discrimination against Women in Law and Practice recognized the critical importance of women’s land rights, adopting an unprecedented position paper, stressing that “driven by the urgency of a global rush for land and extracted resources and unprecedented urbanization, hastened by the growing impact of climate change and frequency of natural disasters, women have been at the center of human rights violations worldwide regarding their rights and access to land.”
The Working Group urges States to comply with their obligations to “account for the quality, legality and effective implementation, participation and enforceability of land rights for women,” including through the adoption of measures to prevent discrimination against women “in their rights to access, use, inherit, control, and own land.” This discrimination is perpetrated by a variety of actors, including “private corporations and investors, powerful local elites, multilateral organizations, regional trade initiatives and family members.”
Our organizations welcome the adoption of this position paper by the Working Group and urge its widespread dissemination and implementation by States and UN agencies, as well as States’ compliance with their obligation to respect, protect and fulfill women’s human rights. Stronger land rights for women are also critical to making real the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and its goals to end poverty, ensure food security, promote environmental conservation, and achieve gender equality. Gender-responsive land-specific Sustainable Development Goals indicators 1.4.2, 5.a.1, and 5.a.2 provide global guidance to governments on tallying data on women’s land rights in law and in practice, both documented and as perceived by the women and men affected.
While land continues to be central to the lives of poor and marginalized communities worldwide, pressures on land are rapidly increasing. Land markets have often proven to be exclusionary and land concentration is on the rise. This pressure has a strong impact on women’s lives and their enjoyment of equal rights. Now more than ever, we must act together to secure and enhance women’s land rights. Join us by learning more and taking action.
We, the undersigned organizations, strongly support the position paper on the centrality of women’s land rights to human rights and sustainable development, recently released by the United Nations Working Group on the Issue of Discrimination Against Women in Law and Practice.
In honor of International Day of Rural Women on October 15th, we urge that this position paper be widely disseminated and implemented, including States Parties compliance.
Pastoral Women’s Council (PWC)
Kenya Legal & Ethical Issues Network on HIV and AIDS (KELIN)
Landesa Center for Women’s Land Rights
International Land Coalition
Womankind Worldwide, UK
Kenana Association for Sustainable Development
Support for Women in Agriculture and Environment (SWAGEN)
Feminist League, Kazakhstan
Reacción Climática – Bolivia
Child and Green Foundation (Nigeria)
Kenana Association for Sustainable Development, Egypt
Fundación para Estudio e Investigación de la Mujer – FEIM – Argentina
Earth Forever Foundation, Bulgaria.
Widows for Peace through Democracy (WPD)
ECASARD (Ecumenical Association For Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development), Ghana
Center for Human Resource Development and Sustainable Agriculture, Ghana
Farmers Organizational Network Ghana (FONG)
Women in Agricultural Network Ghana (WIANG)
Espaço Feminista (Brazil)
Fundación Mexicana para la Planificación Familiar AC – Mexico
Women Thrive Alliance
NETWORK OF RURAL WOMEN PRODUCERS TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO (nrwptt)
NERDS RULE INC.
Project on Organization, Development, Education and Research (PODER)
Gender and Water Alliance
LAMMP (Latin American Mining Monitoring Programme)
Human Rights Watch
Associació Planificació Familiar de Catalunya i Balears.
International Women’s Health Coalition
Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights
The Millennia2025 Women and Innovation Foundation,Belgium
Women and Youth’s Environmental Safety and empowerment Organisation ( EWAY for Development,)
International Federation of Business and Professional Women
AFEM (Association Femmes Europe Méridionale)
AIDE (Associazione Indipendente Donne Europee)-Italia
Associazione DREAM TEAM- Donne per la rivitilazione degli spazi urbani-Italia
Coordinadora de la Mujer, Bolivia
PSI (Population Services International)
Society for Feminist Analyses AnA, Romania
Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd
Ngā Kaiawhina o Wai 262, Aotearoa/ New Zealand
Red Educacion Popular entre Mujeres A Latina y el Caribe REPEM LAC
International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)
Afrihealth Optonet Association [CSOs Network]
Dr. Uzo Adirieje Foundation (DUZAFOUND), Nigeria
Women for Peace and Gender Equality Initiative Nigeria
Julie Marie George, international development expert, Bangalore, india
ENLACES POR LA SUSTENTABILIDAD – EL SALVADOR
AGRICULTURAL MISSIONS – USA
SERR – USA
Shirkat Gah – Women’s Resource Centre – Pakistan
International Federation on Ageing
Reacción Climática – Bolivia
Black Communities’ Process in Colombia (PCN), Colombia
Women Environmental Programme, Nigeria
SERR – USA
ENLACES POR LA SUSTENTABILIDA, EL SALVADOR
AGRICULTURAL MISSIONS, USA
Society of Catholic Medical Missionaries