customary land rights

Customary land rights refer to the enjoyment of some use of land that arises through customary, unwritten practice rather than through written codified law.

24 April 2017 to 12 May 2017
Joana Rocha Dias
Henrique Pires dos Santos


16 May 2017


When bulldozers rolled into their forest at the start of last year, the Ekuri community in southeast Nigeria protested: "Indigenes say no!"


They didn't want a superhighway that would wipe their ancestral lands in the Cross River National Park off the map.

Under pressure, the earthmovers left to do their work elsewhere.

But community spokesman Martin Egot said: "They destroyed all the crops, the source of our wealth: cassava, cocoa, plantain... ."

Innovative Approach to Land Conflict Transformation: Lessons learned from the HAGL/indigenous communities’ mediation process in Ratanakiri, Cambodia Cover image
Training Resources & Tools
May 2017

In the Mekong region, conflicts between local communities and large scale land concessions are widespread. They are often difficult to solve. In Cambodia, an innovative approach to conflict resolution was tested in a case involving a private company, Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL), and several indigenous communities who lost some of their customary lands and forests when the company obtained a concession to grow rubber in the Province of Ratanakiri. The approach was developed by CSOs Equitable Cambodia (EC) and Inclusive Development International (IDI) with the support of QDF funding from MRLG.

ACIN activists rush an injured man to a hospital after being attacked by Colombian police. | Photo: Twitter / Congreso de los Pueblos
11 May 2017

Colombia’s Association of Indigenous Councils of Northern Cauca, ACIN, announced in a press release on Tuesday that recent police aggression involving a firearm resulted in one death and two injuries. 

ACIN claims three police trucks approached a “Liberation of Mother Earth” action in Corinto, dedicated to promoting environmentalism and Indigenous people’s rights to their ancestral lands, and opened fire. 

Indígenas Tapeba reivindicam terras na Grande Fortaleza (Foto: TV Verdes Mares)
1 May 2017

Indígenas Tapeba receberam ordem de despejo de terra em Caucaia, na Grande Fortaleza.

A Defensoria Pública da União (DPU) encaminhou à Comissão Interamericana de Direitos Humanos (CIDH), sediada em Washington (EUA), um pedido de medidas que possam evitar o despejo de indígenas da etnia Tapeba, que vivem em Caucaia, na Grande Fortaleza.

By Julia Christian, Forest Governance Campaigner for FERN

Michoacán’s indigenous communities’ greatest resource is their forests. And they defend them with their lives.

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Reports & Research
February 2009

The study sought to determine the state of farms that belonged to the then National Agricultural Corporation (NAFCO), ranches that belong to the National Ranching Company (NAFCO) and land belonging to absentee landlords. Since any state is dynamic, this research report, then, is a socio-historical account of what has been happening within/out more than 543,604 hectares of ranch/farmland in the wake of the fall of nationalization and rise of privatization.

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Reports & Research
December 2011

In light of persisting land use conflicts and marginal productivity on village lands, a research in the captioned topic was deemed necessary. This report makes a review of policies on land and livestock agriculture behind the backdrop of the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, policies on land and agriculture, and aspirations for land reform. Violations in land rights and prevailing tenure insecurity lasting for decades have skewed mindsets of many users and the land administrators. Policy implementation and enforcement are in dire need of enhancement.

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Conference Papers & Reports
March 2017

Administration of land in Tanzania is more decentralized from the president to the village level. The law gives power to village councils and village assemblies to administer village land. The District authorities are given advisory and supervisory mandates over villages and represent the commissioner who takes overall administrative powers.  Despite decentralization, institutions responsible for land administration, land have continued to be cause of many conflicts for years.  Conflicts have been escalating and lead loss of lives and property.