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Oct 22 2019

Landesa advocates for land rights before UN Committee

Last week, Landesa Center for Women’s Land Rights Program Manager Beth Roberts spoke before the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights about land as a human right. Roberts urged the Committee to integrate gender equality, justice, and social inclusion as core elements of a first-of-its kind binding human rights precedent on land.

Not only was this a powerful platform to highlight the value of gender-equal, socially-inclusive land rights, but it also marks a historic occasion following several years of advocacy efforts to strengthen the link between land rights and human rights.  From our unique niche working to help governments realize their commitments to inclusive rights to land, Landesa joins farmers’ organizations, feminist activists, and indigenous peoples groups—who have worked tirelessly for decades to protect their rights—in calling on the Committee to formally establish the relationship between land and human rights.

Although current human rights law does not yet explicitly recognize a human right to land, numerous human rights bodies have recognized that land tenure security is central to realizing human rights. Roberts explains: “If we want to address the migration crisis and the climate crisis, end poverty, and achieve gender equality, we have to protect the rights of the 2.5 billion people (about 1/3 of humanity) who depend directly on land; and survival for the rest of us depends on the food they grow and the ecosystems they manage.”

Landesa’s work has frequently involved operating and collaborating in the human rights context. We have engaged with international treaty monitoring bodies, advocated for inclusion of land rights in the 2030 Agenda, or Sustainable Development Goals, elevated land-related human rights in climate change venues, and incorporated human rights norms into our work to change discriminatory norms at national and grassroots levels.

Jointly submitted with APWLD and GI-ESCR, our oral and written statements to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights will be taken under consideration for the forthcoming General Comment on Land. A full draft is expected ahead of the Committee’s session next spring.

If you’d like to learn more about this event:
Read a copy of our joint submission

Watch Beth Roberts’ oral statement to the UN Human Rights Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Learn more about the Day of Discussion on Land

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