Monitoring land conflict in the vast region of Asia is not an easy task, but as ILC Asia members gather to learn from each other’s best practices in doing so, there’s a silver lining that can manifest into this effort. Members of the Asia Working Group on Land Rights as Human Rights, an ILC-led initiative that involves members across the region to advocate for a land issue, agree that land conflicts and land-grabbing cases across the region are happening in a similar context.
Land grabbing cases in Asia are usually fueled by profit-oriented corporate interest, which in turn affect those living on and from the land they have inherited for generations, the working group finds.
“In the Philippines, there are various land conflicts in agribusiness, mining, and infrastructure facilitated by the private sector and even the government. It displaces the communities and smallholder farmers who have the right to land and property. Our role as ARNow! is to discuss and raise these issues and advocate what we can do,” said Kimberly Alvarez of ARNow!, an ILC member that participates in the working group.
During the planning meeting and regional training of monitoring land conflicts in Jakarta, Indonesia on March 5th, participants learned the varied methodologies to monitor land conflicts in the region. Identifying the different types of land conflicts caused by various sectors in each national context helps members understand the commonalities of land conflict patterns in the region.
“We hope to learn from each other, from the scoping study [that will be generated] and implemented activities. We want to advocate for this issue and bring it up to the government in the hopes that there will be a change in policy,” said Nhek Sarin, facilitator of the National Engagement Strategy (NES) in Cambodia and a member of Star-Kampuchea.
ILC members in Asia who are part of this Working Group include ANGOC, ARNow! and XSF from the Philippines; KPA from Indonesia; ARBAN and CDA from Bangladesh; Star-Kampuchea from Cambodia; CSRC from Nepal; and the Social Development Foundation and Ekta Parishad from India.
Participants agreed that the next steps are to carry out each country’s activities, which would include the production of policy studies on business and human rights and sectoral studies on land grabbing this 2020. Each country will be convening civil society organisation (CSO) roundtable discussions and multi-stakeholder dialogues to validate the studies and forward recommendations. Data-gathering for the 2020 land conflict monitoring will also commence this year.