The release of the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR)’s General Comment on Land and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights marks a historic juncture: the first comprehensive statement from a human rights treaty-monitoring body on the relationship between land and human rights.
Landesa began advocating for this statement in 2016 and more recently collaborated with CESCR and other partners to sculpt the content.
In particular, the committee notes that women face persistent barriers to their land rights and recommends gender-sensitive methods to address this discrimination. The authors also acknowledge the rights of Indigenous Peoples to food, housing, shelter, adequate standards of living and to participate in their culture – all activities for which secure land rights are essential. Significant attention to both climate change and land-based investments is also evident throughout the statement.
This general comment sets implementation and policy standards for national governments related to land rights, including long-term regional planning for climate action, biodiversity protection, and sustainable land use. It is a milestone for global advocacy efforts, including those championed by Landesa, to establish the connection between land and human rights, and to provide a blueprint for UN member states to act to secure land rights for women, Indigenous Peoples, and others.