Land rights are human rights. CSOs working on land have long recognized this, but land rights tend to be seen as separate and distinct from human rights. Mainstreaming land rights as human rights in ASEAN was the central discussion theme in a workshop organized by ANGOC, together with the Consortium for Agrarian Reform (KPA), Star Kampuchea, International Land Coalition – Asia (ILC Asia), and South East Asia National Human Rights Commission (SEANF) last 16-17 September in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Participants representing the Land Watch Asia network, national human rights institutions, and human rights organizations, from Southeast Asia gathered at this event.
Participants commit themselves as land rights defenders, working to uphold human rights; address structural injustices; support small-scale, sustainable, self-reliant local economies and livelihoods; ensure investments are fair, equitable, and transparent; ensure access to justice and appropriate redress for people’s grievances; provide effective remedies for those displaced; and ensure consistent legal, policy, and regulatory frameworks at the regional and national levels.
They also put forward recommendations to ASEAN – such as encouraging other member states to set up their respective national human rights institutions, and establishing a regional mechanism dealing with land issues (that would investigate and adjudicate complaints
The communiqué (with Mr. Max de Mesa of PAHRA as chair of the drafting committee) contains the full list of commitments and recommendations. Read the communique here. The proceedings are presently being prepared and will be shared in due time.