Civil society communiqué on large scale land acquisitions in Zambia

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Zambia Land Alliance | 21 October 2010

At a meeting on large scale land acquisition in Zambia attended by Royal Highnesses, representatives of NGOs, Faith Based Organisations, Community Based Organisation, Government Departments and Zambia Civil Society Organisations held on 12th October 2010 at Golf View Hotel at Lusaka, delegates noted that:

If left unchecked, large scale land acquisition can mark the beginning of a generation of people without ownership and control of land leading to food insecurity, undesirable economic, political, social and environmental consequences on rural communities generally but specifically women and future generations. As land is everything to every Zambia, it is too important to be left to the whims of international large and other commercial interests to overrun the land rights of the ordinary Zambian women and men hence the desire to do something about the large scale transfer of land to local and international interests at the expense of the local people especially within customary areas; and acknowledging the landmark ruling by the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights in the case of the Endorois people of Kenya who 40 years after they were evicted from their land by the Kenyan Government were adjudged by the African Commission and the decision endorsed by the African Union that the eviction was illegal and violated the human rights of the Endorois people and ordered the Kenyan Government to compensate the people and restitute their land.

These organisations hereby wish to declare that:

1. The secretive manner in which commercial land acquisitions are allowed to happen in our country is discriminatory, unfair and unacceptable and,

2. The land acquisitions especially customary land unnecessarily inflict misery and suffering especially on women and children,

3. There is fundamental need to look at the interface between customary law and statutory Law, to allow for the equal recognition of land rights both under leasehold and customary tenure,

4. Where there are large scale land acquisitions these should be consented only after full community participation and negotiated deals take into account social equity, cultural rights, livelihoods, environmental and intergenerational concerns. Unutilised land converted from customary tenure should revert back to customary tenure,

5. There is urgent need for the Government of the Republic of Zambia to come up with a Constitution that will protect land rights of people within customary areas,

6. There is need for the traditional leadership to address and promote women’s access, ownership and control over land by deliberately making land allocations to women within their areas,

7. There is need to sensitise communities on the land rights, laws and policies, and

8. Land evictions, where they happen should be condemned, more holistically addressed and provide for adequate compensation.

For details contact: The Executive Director Zambia Land Alliance TEL: +260-1-222432/237677. Email: [email protected]
Original source: ZLA
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