NAMATI prepared this curriculum in response to a request for more guidance on the role that paralegals can play in defending and asserting the rights of communities in land acquisition cases, beyond the crucial task of fact-finding.
There is a great need for paralegal involvement in land acquisition cases in Sierra Leone. Nearly one-fifth of Sierra Leone’s arable land is now covered by or under negotiation for large-scale lease agreements, aiming to extract deposits of iron ore, platinum, gold, diamonds, bauxite, and rutile and to utilize the fertile land to produce ethanol, rubber, oil palm, and other agricultural products. The Government of Sierra Leone points to the burgeoning minerals and agribusiness industries as holding the potential to lift Sierra Leone to a middle-income country, in addition to bringing jobs, health clinics, and schools.
On the one hand, Sierra Leone boasted an economic growth of 20.1% last year; On the other hand, its Human Development Index remains one of the lowest in the world. This disparity shows that the growth in the economy is not actually benefiting many of the communities most affected by the large-scale land acquisitions. In fact, in Namati’s experience, many of the communities whose land has been acquired or who live next to a large-scale land acquisition by a mining or agribusiness company suffer negative impacts.
To create more equitable land agreements that benefit holders of large-scale land licenses and communities in a “win-win” situation, paralegals can strive to preventatively meet with communities to inform them of their rights, work with the communities to decide the best option for them given a potential land lease, and work with communities already affected by a lease to advocate for better environmental policies or to renegotiate the contract.
Table of Contents:
Overview of Sierra Leone Land Law and Policy 2
Advocating for Land Rights of Communities 4
Last updated January 30, 2013.
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Last updated: May 25, 2018
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The section titles in this Policy are for convenience only and have no legal or contractual effect.
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Namati Data Protection Officer
1616 P Street NW, Suite 101
Washington, DC 20036, USA
If you live in a country which has adopted the General Data Protection Regulation (EU; 2016/679), you have a right to lodge a complaint with your relevant supervisory authority about this policy and its application.
The Policy was updated in May 2018 to comply with the General Data Protection Regulations.