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Countering Land-grabs by Establishing a Database of Customary Land Ownership Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Published in 2013, Dugo, Habtamu, Eisen, Joanne, Jaatee, Malkamuu, Oromo Studies Association - Archived on August 20th, 2013

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
Language: English
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.

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Review of Land Grabbing Policies of Successive Regimes of Ethiopia

Published in 2012, Jaatee, Malkamuu, Mulataa, Zakaariyaas, Oromo Studies Association - Archived on January 13th, 2013

Note: Repost due to server data loss.


Title: Review of Land Grabbing Policies of Successive Regimes of Ethiopia
Authors: Malkamuu Jaatee and Zakaariyaas Mulataa
Published: Oromo Studies Association (OSA) – Presentation at Annual Conference 2012
Language: English
Keywords: Land, colonization, livelihood assets

Land is a foundation of natural resource of a country. Management of land affects political stability, socioeconomic prosperity, and cultural identity of a nation. Land grabbing policies of successive regimes of Ethiopia are generally reviewed to understand their impacts on social stability, economic prosperity, cultural identity, human rights, and political power of peoples living under colonialism. The current land grabbing policy of Ethiopia is critically analyzed to understand whether it is progressively architected development plan to improve livelihood assets of all peoples of Ethiopia or it is systematically articulated political strategy of Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) regime to destabilize subsistence livelihood assets of rural communities of South Ethiopia in general, and Oromia in particular, to sustain 123 years old colonialism. Land ownership right is not only a customary or a legal right to access a plot of land to produce sufficient amount of crop and animal to secure supply of food for demand of a family, a community, and a nation at all time. It is directly linked to sovereignty and territorial integrity of a country and its citizens. The right to access land in Oromia and Southern Ethiopia before colonization was governed by customary law based on traditional principles. However, traditional land ownership rights of indigenous peoples were dismissed by military power of successive Abyssinian regimes basically rooted in technical, material, and financial aids of foreign organizations since 1880s, the era of scramble for colonization of Africa. Land tenure policy of Ethiopia is politically grouped into two levels, customary and colonial land use policies, respectively in North and South Ethiopia. It is coded as (1) Rist and Gebar, (2) state, and (3) public & investment land tenures during imperial (1889 – 1974), military (1974 – 1991), and the TPLF (1991 – current) regimes, respectively. Very dangerous land grabbing policy is intentionally designed by the TPLF regime to destabilize livelihood assets of peoples of Oromia and southern Ethiopia through aggravation of poverty, expansion of food insecurity borders, intensification of conflict, degradation of ecosystem, and advancement of human rights violation. The regime is systematically maintained insecurity through synergistic interconnection of effects of poverty, food insecurity, conflict, human right violations, and violence in order to sustain its military, economic, and political dominance over its colonial territories. These vicious cycles of violence and insecurity negatively affect legitimate national liberation struggle of oppressed peoples of Ethiopia.

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