With secure land tenure, Indigenous Peoples and local communities can realize human rights, achieve economic growth, protect the environment, and maintain cultural integrity. For centuries, Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPLCs) have used, managed and depended on collectively-held land for food supplies, cultural and spiritual traditions, and other livelihood needs. Historically governed through customary tenure systems rooted in community norms and practices that often go back centuries, governments often consider such community land as vacant, idle, or state-owned property. Statutory recognition and protection of indigenous and community land rights continues to be a major challenge.
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King Goodwill Zwelithini recently surrounded himself with amabutho and intimated that violence or secession would follow unless threats to ‘the land of the Zulu nation’ were withdrawn. The President hurriedly assured him that his land was safe.
It is important to separate the theatre from the substance.
The government should promptly provide redress for past illegal confiscations of land and stop arbitrarily arresting activists, New York-headquartered Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report released this afternoon. The NGO also called on Nay Pyi Taw to enact laws and regulations to safeguard the rights of farmers and other small landholders from future confiscations.
A new study makes a significant contribution to the growing body of research showing that recognizing the land rights of and partnering with indigenous peoples can greatly benefit conservation efforts.