Sometimes, however, we have to take another approach. When a community has already signed a deal with an investors or when an individual farmer has suffered land-grabbing by neighbours or by powerful elites, Namati can work with them to use the law to get the deal re-negotiated or seek redress through the courts.
In Sierra Leone we are working with communities who have seen the entire land of their villages signed away by elders and chiefs who did not have the whole community’s best interests at heart. In one case, with a Swiss biofuels company, we are renegotiating an inequitable 21,000-hectare lease that gave it control of all the land of dozens of villages and left them with nothing to grow food on. Where necessary we undertake litigation to seek redress and to strike down deals that are manifestly unjust. We also use the learning from our grassroots work to advocate policy changes. Sierra Leone’s cabinet is currently considering a new land law to which Namati provided substantive changes.
In Myanmar we are working on hundreds of cases of farmers who suffered land-grabbing by the military and powerful figures under decades of dictatorship. Paralegals working with our Myanmar partner provide a frontline giving advice on land laws to a much larger group of people than could be assisted by lawyers alone.
In 2014 photographer Bremen Donovan travelled to Myanmar to document the work of Namati and its partner, the Civil and Political Rights Campaign Group (CPRCG). Together we work to support farmers facing both opportunities and threats as Myanmar enters a new phase.view gallery
Namati has been helping the small village of Masethele in northern Sierra Leone overturn an iniquitous land deal that would have robbed the community of it livelihood.Listen to the podcast
Freedoms and Threats: untangling land rights in rapidly-changing Burma
In Myanmar, after decades when there were no mechanisms for land registration, the gates have now been opened, and farmers are clamoring for their place in line. Namati and partner have deployed 30 paralegals to support farmers to protect their rights.Read Story
No Consent in Nimiyama Chiefdom
When seven-foot concrete poles appeared in the backyards of people in Nimiyama, in Sierra Leone, it was the first sign that their land was in the process of being taken from them.Read Story