This publication is a joint effort of six member countries of Friends of the Earth Asia Pacific (FOE APac) under the Food Sovereignty Programme of Friends of the Earth International (FOEI). They include the Centre for Environmental Law and Community Rights (CELCOR) from Papua New Guinea, Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM), Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia (WALHI), Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center (LRC) from the Philippines, Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) from Sri Lanka and the Palestinian Environmental NGOs Network (PENGON).
In brief, the publication intends to discuss the land rights security of communities, including but not limited to, those who are ethnically indigenous or culturally traditional, as well as those who form as an integral part of rural agricultural groups.
In principle, we believe that land grabs are inherently rooted in the inequitable free market forces, attributable to our flawed economic and developmental systems. Therefore, we believe, there is also a need to understand how legislative and governance systems of the participating countries respond to such land rights threats and the extent to which they are able to protect community land rights from land grabbing and the violations of community land rights.
What is land grabbing?
Land grabbing is the control of larger than locally-typical amounts of land by any persons or entities; public or private, foreign or domestic. This can be through ownership, lease, concession, contracts, quotas or general power. This control can be acquired through legal or illegal means, for the purposes of speculation, extraction, resource control or commodification. This is often at the expense of peasant farmers, agroecology, land stewardship, food sovereignty and human rights (European Coordination Via Campesina, 2016).