The Land and Development Expertise Center (LADEC) and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) are excited to announce their partnership for a new LAND-at-scale project in Burundi. Starting this year, the project will run for three years focusing on promotion equality and non-discrimination in the management of land conflicts.
Land conflicts pose threat to peace and social cohesion.
Research has shown time and again that of all court cases in Burundi, conflicts over land are the most prevalent. A study conducted by LADEC in the Ngozi and Kayanza provinces, funded by SDC, showed how land conflicts account for over 70% of civil court cases. It is also often-reported that land disputes are featured in criminal courts as well, with crimes committed in relation to a prevailing land dispute. Land conflicts pose a threat for the peace and social cohesion in the country.
A detailed analysis of these conflicts shows that land succession and inheritance is often observed as the root cause of these land conflict. Most land disputes brought before civil courts in essence concern the division of family property. In the absence of an inheritance law, these matters are often dealt with based on customary practices. While this affects the entire population, women are particularly affected, especially in rural areas. Not only do women seeking justice face the challenge of discriminatory social-cultural norms and practices, judicial rulings in land-related cases based on customary practices also tend to discriminate against women.
LAND-at-scale project strategy
The LAND-at-scale intervention will work on harmonizing judicial practices by the courts. Through this harmonization, the project aims to contribute to peacebuilding, strengthen social cohesion and development through the enforcement of land and community conflict management mechanisms for access to equitable justice. More specifically, this intervention will:
- Strengthen judges capacities to render decisions in land court cases, in compliance with non-discriminatory principles and standards (including jurisprudence)
- Strengthen capacities of local mechanisms for managing land disputes (namely conseil de notables and government representatives), and judicial auxiliaries (lawyers and court clerks) to incorporate non-discriminatory legal standards in decision-making
- Sensitize the population with regards to non-discriminatory practices towards women and other vulnerable groups in land governance.
The project builds on an earlier project by LADEC, financed by SDC. Under this collaboration, LADEC and the Supreme Court developed a jurisprudence compendium, aimed at supporting judges faced with difficult land conflicts without a clear legal framework. With the support of LAND-at-scale, LADEC will further scale the efforts of this work by training judges and other local dispute mechanisms to work with the compendium.
This project has been developed in close cooperation with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (EKN) in Bujumbura, and will collaborate with the other ongoing LAND-at-scale project in Burundi, Amahoro@Scale.
Want to know more about LAND-at-scale?
The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs funds LAND-at-scale. This project in Burundi is funded for 1,5 million Euros. The project started in September 2023. To stay updated on this LAND-at-scale project and others, please sign up for our quarterly newsletter.