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Justice Policy Series, Part 1: Access to Justice

Open Government Partnership, Joseph Foti, Jessica Hickle, Maha Jweied,

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) provides an opportunity for government and civil society reformers to make government more transparent, participatory, and accountable. Working together, government and civil society co-create two-year action plans with concrete commitments across a broad range of issues that are then monitored by OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM). Until recently, access to…

Redress for land and resource rights violations: a legal empowerment agenda

Brendan Schwartz, Lorenzo Cotula, Masalu Luhula, Tomaso Ferrando, Hayden Fairburn,

A recent wave of large-scale commercial investments in agriculture, extractive industries and other land-based sectors has compounded the ‘global resource squeeze’ in low- and middle-income countries. But many communities affected by land rights violations struggle to assert their rights or obtain redress. Demand for legal support outstrips resources and what is available is not always…

Complicity in Destruction II

Amazon Watch,

How northern consumers and financiers enable Bolsonaro’s assault on the Brazilian Amazon. As the world’s largest rainforest, the Amazon provides 20% of our oxygen, houses 10% of the planet’s biodiversity, and helps stabilize the global climate. The world needs it to survive. None understand this better than the indigenous peoples and traditional communities who call…

Gendered Aspects of Land Rights in Myanmar II: Evidence from Paralegal Case Work (Myanmar language)

Namati,

Land reform in Myanmar is integral to ensuring the nation’s development is both sustainable and inclusive. The recent and complex history of land confiscation, acquisitions, and conflict has permeated every aspect of life for many smallholder farmers, leaving them to rebuild and reclaim their livelihoods. While progress has been made to empower smallholder farmers under…

Manuel Pratique de Protection pour les Défenseur·e·s des Droits Humains en République Démocratique du Congo

Protection International,

Il y a maintenant 10 ans que Protection International a publié son Nouveau Manuel de Protection (NMP). Bien que toujours d’actualité, son contenu peut paraître abstrait au premier abord et il est parfois difficile pour les défenseurs et défenseures (DDH) d’appliquer les concepts et méthodes proposées à leur propre organisation et contexte. De plus, le…

Gendered Aspects of Land Rights in Myanmar II: Evidence from Paralegal Case Work

Namati,

Land reform in Myanmar is integral to ensuring the nation’s development is both sustainable and inclusive. The recent and complex history of land confiscation, acquisitions, and conflict has permeated every aspect of life for many smallholder farmers, leaving them to rebuild and reclaim their livelihoods. While progress has been made to empower smallholder farmers under…

Communities at the heart of forest management: How can the law make a difference?

Nathalie Faure, Benjamin Ichou, Tanja Venisnik,

This report is intended to provide guidance to develop enabling legal frameworks governing community forestry. It offers recommendations and a framework for reflection for all actors engaged in creating, implementing or revising laws on community forestry, and for civil society in particular. Drawing lessons from the design and implementation of community forestry laws in Nepal,…

Innovative Financing Solutions for Community Support in the Context of Land Investments

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment,

Communities affected by agricultural, forestry, and other resource investments urgently need increased funding for legal and technical support. Too many communities struggle to access the support they need to protect their interests, in large part because they cannot afford it. This is in stark contrast to companies, who can generally afford the legal and technical…

Most Farmers Do Not Know about the Vacant, Fallow and Virgin Land Management Law as the Grace Period to Register Closes (Burmese)

Nwe Ni Soe, Sung Chin Par,

This report is written in Burmese. Find an English verison, here.  On September 11, 2018 parliament passed an amendment to the Vacant, Fallow and Virgin (VFV) Land Management Law. This law has been criticized by many groups ranging from civil society groups to mining companies. The primary concern is that it will cause further insecurity…

Most Farmers Do Not Know about the Vacant, Fallow and Virgin Land Management Law as the Grace Period to Register Closes

Nwe Ni Soe, Sung Chin Par,

On September 11, 2018 parliament passed an amendment to the Vacant, Fallow and Virgin (VFV) Land Management Law. This law has been criticized by many groups ranging from civil society groups to mining companies. The primary concern is that it will cause further insecurity for farmers and ethnic communities. For purposes of this report when…

Land Law Threatens to Displace and Criminalize Millions in Myanmar

Posted by Namati in Advocacy & Systemic Change, Land & Natural Resources, Namati News, Resources & Research

Myanmar is being threatened with a land grab on a massive scale. In September 2018, Myanmar’s parliament, led by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party, passed an amendment to the Vacant, Fallow and Virgin (VFV) Lands Management Law, requiring anyone occupying land classified as “vacant, fallow, or virgin” to apply for 30-year…

Bad-Faith Contracts & Unjust Investments – How can communities protect their interests?

Posted by Rachael Knight & Kaitlin Cordes in Community Land Protection, Community Paralegals, Land & Natural Resources, Namati News, Resources & Research

Deciding whether or not to allow an investor to use community lands and natural resources is one of the most important decisions a community can make. Namati and the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI) have published two new guides to help communities prepare for interactions with investors and, if they so wish, negotiate fair, equitable contracts….

New Guides Help Communities to Negotiate Fair Contracts with Investors

Posted by Namati, Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment in Environment, Land & Natural Resources, Namati News, Resources & Research

WASHINGTON, DC — With investors increasingly turning to more remote locations for the establishment of forestry, agribusiness, mining, and infrastructure projects, it is critical that communities worldwide gain a practical understanding of contract negotiations, according to two new guides by Namati and the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI).   Launched today, the Community-Investor Negotiation…

Protect Sierra Leone’s Timber Before It’s Too Late

Posted by Namati in Advocacy & Systemic Change, Environment, General, Land & Natural Resources

Sierra Leone’s forests are disappearing because of the timber trade. Sonkita Conteh, Director of Namati Sierra Leone, calls on the government to do its job, to put people and environment ahead of profits, and to protect the country’s land before it’s too late in the Concord Times.

An open letter to President Bio: Keep plunderers out of our endangered forests for good.

Posted by Sonkita Conteh in Advocacy & Systemic Change, Environment, Land & Natural Resources

In a must-read open letter, Sonkita Conteh, Director of Namati Sierra Leone, calls on the president of Sierra Leone to keep his word to protect the endangered forests of the country. He calls resuming timber exports “short-sighted and dangerous” and a “desecration of pre-election commitments” and notes that “no amount of money will equal the value of…

Sierra Leone’s Small Towns Learn to Fight Against Land Grabs

Posted by Namati in Community Paralegals, Environment, Land & Natural Resources

When a multinational company displaced communities and polluted lands in Sierra Leone, villagers felt angry and helpless. When those same communities partnered with paralegals to understand, use, and shape the law, they said “the law is with us now” and pushed back. This piece in Ozy profiles how communities in Sierra Leone are using legal…

Myanmar’s Foray into Deliberative Democracy: Citizen Participation in Resolving Historical Land Grabs

Posted by Namati in Advocacy & Systemic Change, Land & Natural Resources, Namati News, Resources & Research

Namati and a coalition of non-governmental representatives have published a policy brief on the committees tasked with overseeing the investigations of Myanmar’s historical land grab cases. It is hoped the brief will help strengthen the implementation of the committees, making them more responsive to the lived experience of ordinary Myanmar citizens trying to secure their land…

Video: Sonkita Conteh speaks about the paralegal approach in Sierra Leone at the “Solutions Summit”

Posted by Namati in Community Paralegals, Land & Natural Resources, Namati News

Namati’s Vivek Maru and Sonkita Conteh were among the 16 individuals honored with the Schwab Foundation’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award for 2017. As one of the 9 honorees from sub-Sahara Africa, Sonkita was invited to attend the “Solutions Summit” which took place in Durban in early May, directly ahead of the World Economic Forum on…

LEGEND Land Policy Bulletin: “Namati’s experience of using GeoODK GPS Mapping”

Posted by Marena Brinkhurst in Community Land Protection

Maps are critical tools that assist communities in securing formal legal recognition of their rights to customary land and supporting local land governance. However, the map-making support Namati could provide to communities in Africa and Asia was, until recently, limited to hand-drawn sketches. GPS and satellite technologies were too costly and technically complex. In 2016, Namati partnered with…

How One Experience in Bangladesh Advanced Women’s Rights Work in Myanmar

Posted by Nant Thi Thi Oo in Gender, Global Legal Empowerment Network

The following is a blog by Nant Thi Thi Oo, a data entry associate with Namati’s program in Myanmar.    In November 2015, I had the chance to participate in a learning exchange hosted by Namati and the Bangladesh National Woman Lawyers Association (BNWLA). I was very grateful to be selected to go. The exchange focused…

New Handbook for Environment Justice Practitioners in India

Posted by Namati in Community Paralegals, Environment, Land & Natural Resources, Resources & Research

Handbook on Legal and Administrative Remedies for Community Level Environment Justice Practitioners in India   The Centre for Policy Research-Namati Environmental Justice Program has produced an indispensable new handbook that helps environment justice practitioners in India to identify and use appropriate legal clauses and institutional routes in their work. Environment justice practitioners, or grassroots environment paralegals,…

Liberia is at a crossroads: recognising land rights can safeguard against violence

Posted by Jennifer Duncan and Jaron Vogelsang in Advocacy & Systemic Change, Community Land Protection, Land & Natural Resources

This article was originally published by Thompson Reuters Foundation.   The government of Liberia has an unprecedented opportunity to pass progressive land reform legislation that could positively impact millions of people, but the window of opportunity is rapidly closing. If Liberia’s legislature doesn’t vote to adopt the draft Land Rights Act before it goes on recess…

Streamlining Institutions to Restore Land and Justice to Farmers in Myanmar

Posted by Namati in Land & Natural Resources, Namati News, Resources & Research

A new policy brief has been released emphasizing the need for the Myanmar government to put in place simple, transparent mechanisms to ensure that land and justice is restored to farmers who were dispossessed of their livelihoods without due process or compensation.  According to the Parliamentary Land Investigation Committee, more than 500,000 acres of land in Myanmar…

India’s National Green Tribunal Sets an Important Precedent

Posted by Krithika Dinesh, Manju Menon, and Kanchi Kohli in Environment

A Casual Approach  By taking on board the concerns of a fishing community in Hazira, India, regarding the construction of a port, the National Green Tribunal has set an important precedent. I n 2013, a fishermen’s group in Hazira—the Hazira Machimar Samiti—and three affected fishermen had filed a petition against the Adanis, the project proponent…

Bringing Law to Life: Paralegal Interventions in Natural Resource Exploitation

Posted by Sonkita Conteh in Community Paralegals, Land & Natural Resources

Introduction When a diamond mining company closed its operations in Mofuwe Village, in the south of Sierra Leone, it left behind three mined-out pits the size of several football pitches, a collapsed bridge, a blocked stream and an uncompleted community school building. It was as if the villagers woke up one morning and the company…

Namati contributes to FAO Technical Guide on legal dimensions of responsible governance of tenure

Posted by Marena Brinkhurst in Advocacy & Systemic Change, Land & Natural Resources, Resources & Research

The latest technical guide on the responsible governance of tenure from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) focuses on the legal dimensions of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure for Land, Fisheries and Forests at the national level. Rachael Knight, Director of Namati’s Community Land Protection Program, was one of the main authors…

The Community Land Protection Facilitator’s Guide

Posted by Namati's Community Land Protection Team in Community Land Protection, Resources & Research

Namati’s Community Land Protection Facilitator’s Guide is a step-by-step, practical “how to” manual for grassroots advocates working to help communities protect their customary claims and rights to land and natural resources. After years of working with partner organizations around the world to support communities to protect their land rights, Namati has developed a comprehensive, five-part approach…

New book on protecting community lands and resources in Africa from Namati and Natural Justice

Posted by Marena Brinkhurst in Advocacy & Systemic Change, Land & Natural Resources, Resources & Research

In 2013, a group of 20 expert advocates from across Africa gathered for a three-day symposium to share experiences and practical strategies for effectively supporting communities to protect their lands and natural resources. The symposium illuminated many similarities between the types of threats to communities’ land and natural resource claims, as well as underlying factors that drive and exacerbate…

Myanmar faces fresh hurdle in land rights and justice

Posted by Caitlin Pierce in Land & Natural Resources

Download Namati’s report Returns of Grabbed Land in Myanmar: Progress After Two Years (in English or Burmese) UMyint Tun was working in his field in Sagaing when four officers pulled up in a military jeep with the bad news: his land now belonged to the government. He could no longer farm it. This was April…

Online Database of Land-based Investment Contracts Invites Innovative Proposals

Posted by Marena Brinkhurst in Environment, Land & Natural Resources, Opportunities

OpenLandContracts.org aims to promote greater transparency of land-based investments, facilitate a better understanding of the contracts that govern them, and provide useful tools for governments, communities, companies, and other stakeholders. Initially launched in October 2015, the repository provides the full text of contracts, as well as plain language summaries of each contract’s key social, environmental, human…

Namati Welcomes Sierra Leone’s Progressive New National Land Policy

Posted by Sonkita Conteh in Land & Natural Resources

Sierra Leone’s new National Land Policy, recently approved by the cabinet, presents a progressive and ambitious plan for protecting land rights that will strengthen women’s access to land, give communities a bigger say over land management and create a better framework for major land investments. All of which is urgently in need if Sierra Leone’s…

Using the Law to Defend Indigenous Lands: New Video from ‘Territories of Life’

Posted by Marena Brinkhurst in Environment, Land & Natural Resources, Resources & Research

Territories of Life is a series of videos produced by LifeMosaic to shares stories of resistance, resilience and hope with communities on the frontline of the global rush for land. The latest video, ‘Using The Law‘, examines strategies for using national, regional and international law to fight against the takeover of indigenous lands. The 12-minute video looks at three legal cases in…

The Sea, the Law and Salt

Posted by Vimal Kalavadiya and Bharat Patel in Environment

How we used the law to reclaim the inter-tidal area at Bavdi Bander, Gujarat, India The Kutch district in Gujarat, one of the largest in India, has a coastline of 405 kilometers and inter-tidal area of about 200 kilometers. For generations, communities in the district have engaged in agriculture, pottery, animal husbandry, weaving, fishing, and…

Myanmar: Namati & Landesa Make Recommendations for Pro-Poor Land Policy

Posted by Laura Goodwin in Land & Natural Resources

In this major new report Namati and Landesa highlight the pressing needs of Myanmar’s rural population – and recommend potential solutions – as the Myanmar government embarks on wide-reaching land policy reform. Download the report in English. Download the report in Burmese. Myanmar is undergoing a major transition, opening space for significant change for the…

TerraNullius profiles the Community Land Rights CaseBase

Posted by Rachael Knight, Naomi Roht-Arriaza and Melissa Riess-James in Global Legal Empowerment Network, Land & Natural Resources

TerraNullius – a leading blog on topics of land rights, human rights, and rule of law – has published a profile of CaseBase, Namati’s new online database of community land rights case law. Read the blog on TerraNullius to learn about the goals and development of the Community Land Rights CaseBase. Explore CaseBase CaseBase – Namati’s  free, online,…

New legal database on community land and natural resource rights

Posted by Marena Brinkhurst in Global Legal Empowerment Network, Land & Natural Resources, Namati News, Resources & Research

Namati has launched a groundbreaking new tool for lawyers and advocates working to protect community rights to land and natural resources: the Community Land Rights CaseBase. More and more lawyers and front line legal advocates are stepping forward to defend communities’ rights, yet they often struggle to find supportive legal precedent – within their own country or…

Videos on Community Land Protection

Posted by Rachael Knight in Community Land Protection, Namati News

Namati is thrilled to release four new videos that illustrate our approach to Community Land Protection. The first video is an overview of our approach, while the second and third videos describe the challenging work of making maps, resolving land conflicts, harmonizing boundaries with neighbors, drafting by-laws to ensure just and equitable governance, and electing diverse…

Call for New Partners: Community Land Protection

Posted by Marena Brinkhurst in Community Land Protection, Environment, Namati News

Namati is looking for new partners to adapt our approach to support communities in their regions. Drawing on five years of research and field-testing, Namati and our partners have designed a powerful four-step process for protecting community lands and natural resources. Our approach supports communities to map their resources, harmonize boundaries, and formally register their…

Land Rights in Myanmar – in Pictures

Posted by The Guardian in Land & Natural Resources

The Guardian newspaper’s Development section has published a picture gallery of Namati images. These were taken by the photographer Bremen Donovan in 2014. The images accompany extended captions explaining how a new land use law, due to be finalised in 2015, is likely to mean land seizures committed by the military and powerful elites during Myanmar’s long dictatorship will…

Land Rights in the Post-2015 Agenda

Posted by Namati in Community Land Protection, Land & Natural Resources, Post-2015 Agenda

Namati has joined with a coalition of organizations to produce a briefing paper on the place of land rights in the new Sustainable Development Goals. The briefing has been endorsed by organisations such as ActioAid, Oxfam, Landesa, Global Witness and Habitat for Humanity. It contains five headline recommendations: 1. The Post-2015 Agenda should advance and monitor…

No Consent in Nimiyama Chiefdom

Posted by Karima Tawfik in Land & Natural Resources

Innovative Legal Remedies to Protect  Land Rights in Sierra Leone By Karima Tawfik For one woman in Nimiyama Chiefdom in eastern Sierra Leone, the first sign of trouble came when she went into her family’s fields to brush for planting and was told to leave immediately because the land had been “sold.” For another landowner, it…

Targeting Illegal Mining in India’s Forests

Posted by Kanchi Kohli in Environment

Namati’s Kanchi Kohli explains how public interest litigation finally forced the authorities to act against illegal iron ore mines in the forests of Odisha. 27 October 2014 – The discourse around iron and steel in India has taken a huge political turn since 2007. In 2007, the Karnataka state government, while recognising the problem of rampant illegal…

Community Land Mapping in Liberia on Film

Posted by Namati in Community Land Protection, Land & Natural Resources

The work of Namati’s Liberian partner, the Sustainable Development Institute, has been captured on film by the climate change campaign organisation If Not Us Then Who. Made by Handcrafted Films for their Inspirational People strand, the short film shows the community mapping that rural people use to begin the process of protecting their lands. In a country where over half…

India’s Quest for Power

Posted by Kanchi Kohli in Environment

Namati’s Kanchi Kohli on how India’s ‘balance’ of industrialisation and ecological protection actually looks at the ground level. “The lives of people living in coastal or forest ecosystems are likely to change drastically if one is to go by the number of power plants going up in India today. Each company seeking permission to operate a coal mine…

No Consent in Nimiyama Chiefdom

Posted by Karima Tawfik in Land & Natural Resources

Innovative Legal Remedies to Protect  Land Rights in Sierra Leone By Karima Tawfik For one woman in Nimiyama Chiefdom in eastern Sierra Leone, the first sign of trouble came when she went into her family’s fields to brush for planting and was told to leave immediately because the land had been “sold.” For another landowner, it…