Countering Land-grabs by Establishing a Database of Customary Land Ownership Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Title: Countering Land-grabs by Establishing a Database of Customary Land Ownership Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Authors: Malkamuu Jaatee, Habtamu Dugo and Joanne Eisen
Published: Oromo Studies Association (OSA) – Presentation at Annual Conference 2013
Keywords: Land-grabs, Property Rights, Deeds, Indigenous peoples, and Documentation
Without modern deeds and documentation, indigenous peoples cannot prove ownership of their ancestral lands. This paper describes a proposal that will create land ownership records/deeds for indigenous people by recording their land boundaries using GPS technology. The recording process will begin in areas that are at highest risk for land grabbing and the data will be stored out of country. This should strengthen the position of those who have only informal title to their land and who do not have the ability to prevent land grabbing. We expect that short term benefits will include the promotion of Oromummaa, the development of Oromo leadership, the continuing education of the people about their rights and the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent [FPIC] and the intimidation of prospective land grabbers by alerting them to brewing resistance. In the long term, if court proceedings are required, measurement of ancestral property and documentation of ownership offer a higher chance of a successful outcome. We show how the changing concept of FPIC and financial failures of previous land grabbing schemes may be contributing to an eventual slowing of the land grab process. Until that time, indigenous leadership should promote the timely local actions required to protect the people from despotic treatment.