This Proclamation introduces a general land reform in Eritrea by formulating new rules respecting land tenure and land use. The text of the Proclamation consists of a Preamble and 59 articles which are divided into 5 sections: Section One defines terms such as "usufruct", "system of land tenure" and "land administrative body".The main set of rules relative to landownership and land tenure can be found in section Two. This Section (arts. 3 to 49) is divided into 6 Chapters: Principles (A); Land distribution (B); Rights and duties of persons to whom land has been distributed (C); Housing on rural land (D); Previous land laws (E); Miscellaneous provisions (F). In Eritrea land is owned by the State (art 3, comma 1). Any right over land shall be effective upon Government recognition and approval and such right shall be registered in a land register (art. 3, comma 2). Where the Government deems it necessary, it may allow the lease or usufruct or other similar rights over land (art.3, comma 3). Granting of rights over land may be subject to "preconditions and criteria pertaining to the use and management of the land" (art. 3, comma 4). Every Eritrean citizen shall have access to the right of usufruct over land (art. 4, comma 1). Article 5 provides for the distribution of urban land. Article 6 provides for the distribution of rural land. The Government shall classify rural land for housing and farming activities in villages. The right of usufruct of land in village areas shall only be granted to permanent residents and citizens who have the permission to settle in villages and live by using the land (comma 2). Article 6 makes also provision for the allocation of tiesa land (land for housing). Foreigners may only hold land in lease or usufruct by special permission of the President of Eritrea (art. 8). Land Administrative Bodies in villages, subordinated to the Land Commission established under this Proclamation, shall classify arable land according to a quality criteria and prepare the arable land for distribution (art. 9). Allotment of land shall take place in accordance with principles established in article 11. Subject to rules of article 12 the usufructuary shall use the land for his lifetime. Land which has been allotted for farming shall be restored to the Government if not cultivated properly for more than two years without good cause. Article 13 specifies several other circumstances in which land subject to the right of usufruct shall be restored to the Government. A land register shall be kept by the Land Administrative Body which shall submit a copy to the Land Commission and issue a certificate certifying the allotment of land, size and boundaries of the land and the date of allotment (art. 17). The right of usufruct allows for share-cropping (art. 26).Section Three provides for expropriation of land given in usufruct for which a compensation must be paid. Provisions of Section Four outline the powers and responsibilities of the Land Commission. The Commission. responsible for the implementation of the new land tenure system, shall respond directly to the President and shall have a Commissioner and a Deputy Commissioner. Section Five declares the supremacy of this Proclamation over all previous legislation concerning land which if inconsistent with this Proclamation is repealed.
Implemented by: Regulation to Provide for the Procedure of Allocation and Administration of Land (L.N. No. 31/1997). (1997-05-19)
Implemented by: Proclamation to Provide for the Registration of Land and Other Immovable Property (No. 95/1997). (1997-05-19)
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