Global Land News


Every week, we collect the latest on land and environmental justice from a wide range of sources. These stories share challenges and victories from the local to the global.


* indicates required

Brazil: Indigenous Groups Fear Law That ‘Deeply Undermines’ Land Rights

January 19, 2017
in: Indigenous, Legislation, Mapping

The Brazilian Minister of Justice Alexandre de Moraes announced Wednesday a decree which will change how Indigenous lands are demarcated in the country. Activists have decried the law, arguing that it will favor large industries over the rights of Indigenous communities and threaten environmental conservation efforts. The change will place the demarcation of Indigenous land under the authority of the country’s Ministry of Justice rather than the National Indian Foundation, FUNAI, a government body that works for the country’s 900,000 Indigenous people. FUNAI has previously used technical and anthropological research to demarcate Indigenous lands. Instead, the Ministry of Justice plans to set up a working group to demarcate the land.

Costa Rica: Supreme Court Stops Hydroelectric Project for Failing to Consult Indigenous Peoples

January 19, 2017
in: Dams, Indigenous, Legislation

On November 1, 2016, the Constitutional Chamber of Costa Rica’s Supreme Court provided some good news to a Terraba (Teribe) Indigenous territory when it stopped the state-run Costa Rica Electricity Institute (ICE by its Spanish acronym) from going forward with the Diquis hydroelectric project for failing to consult Indigenous communities who would see part of their lands flooded.

United States: In the Fight for Climate Justice, Indigenous People Set the Path – and Lead the Way

January 19, 2017
in: Community Rights, Indigenous, Natural Resources

It is our sacred responsibility to protect and preserve this planet for future generations. Where governments barter away the health of our planet and the wellbeing of our people, making bargain after Faustian bargain with investors and developers reaching for short-term wealth, indigenous movements and their allies are asserting their rights and sovereignties to protect land, water and people for future generations.

Mexico: Isidro Baldenegro, Environmental Activist, Is Shot to Death

January 18, 2017
in: Community Rights, Conflict, Forest, Indigenous

Isidro Baldenegro López, an indigenous activist whose struggle to protect the pine-oak forests of Mexico’s Sierra Madre range won him the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize, has been killed by a gunman, the authorities said on Wednesday. A leader of the Tarahumara people who live among the jagged peaks of the western Sierra Madre, Mr. Baldenegro defended the area’s old-growth forests against powerful local strongmen allied with drug traffickers and loggers.

Timor-Leste: Can a New Law Help Land Rights Crisis?

January 18, 2017
in: Customary Law, Land Reform, Land Titles, Legislation, Women
Related Links: Survey on Access to Land, Tenure Security and Land Conflicts in Timor-Leste

In 2012, Parliament approved a draft land law to clarify the current confusion regarding land rights by establishing a set of criteria to determine initial ownership. However, after being vetoed by then-President Ramos Horta, the law has been going back and forth between the government and parliament, and is currently once again under debate. Initial versions of the draft included provisions to protect those households from eviction that do not fulfil the criteria of the law for land ownership recognition and cannot afford resettlement. But this protection has been removed in the current draft, and it is not clear how many people could face eviction.

Thailand: Human Rights Watch Reports Junta’s Continued Repression

January 15, 2017
in: Community Rights, Conflict, Government Accountability, Land Dispute

The latest annual report on the state of human rights around the world by Human Rights Watch accuses Thailand’s military regime of increased repression, particularly as relates to the lack of progress in cases of disappeared land rights activists.

Kenya: Governor Timamy Calls for Stop to Land Grabbing

January 14, 2017
in: Eviction, Land Dispute, Land Reform, Land Titles, Landlessness

The Lamu County government has said it will put an end to massive land grabbing schemes precipitated by tycoons who use fake title deeds to evict people.

Philippines: DAR Moves to Boost Land Tenure Services

January 14, 2017
in: Land Reform, Land Tenure, Landlessness

The Department of Agrarian Reform is set to improve its land tenure services as it seeks to hasten the distribution of properties to landless farmers.

Brazil: Rights Group: Brazilian Farm Owners form Militias to Attack Land Activists

January 13, 2017
in: Conflict, Land Dispute, Land Titles, Landlessness, Pastoralists

Large farm owners in Brazil are forming private militias to attack land rights campaigners, Human Rights Watch said on Thursday, as rural violence in Latin America’s largest country hits its worst levels in a decade.

DRC: One of Africa’s Oldest Indigenous Peoples is Facing a Land Crisis

January 12, 2017
in: Forest, Indigenous, Land Dispute, Landlessness, Legislation

Like their ethnic kin across central Africa, Idjwi’s Pygmies, widely known as Bambuti, have been pushed out of a native land to which they could assert no legal title – in this case, to make way for an exploding ethnic Bantu population who now make up more than 95 per cent of Idjwi’s 280,000 inhabitants.

Stay Informed

Join the Network

Be part of the movement for legal empowerment.

Meet practitioners from around the world, access practical resources, and join learning exchanges.

Sign Up