Land Rights Issues in International Human Rights Law
Malaysian Journal on Human Rights, Vol. 4, No. 10, 2010
10 Pages Posted: 3 Sep 2011
Up to one quarter of the world’s population is estimated to be landless, including 200 million people living in rural areas. For many of these people, the condition of landlessness threatens the enjoyment of a number of fundamental human rights. Access to land is important for development and poverty reduction, but also often necessary for access to numerous economic, social and cultural rights, and as a gateway for many civil and political rights. However, there is no right to land codified in international human rights law. This article, which was originally written as a briefing paper for the “Forum on Land, Business, and Human Rights” convened in Manesar, India by the Institute for Human Rights and Business in June 2009, provides a brief overview of the legal implications of access to land for a broad range of human rights. Land is a cross-cutting issue, and is not simply a resource for one human right in the international legal framework. Rights have been established in the international legal framework that explicitly relate to land access for particular groups, such as indigenous people and, to a more limited extent, women. In addition, numerous rights are affected by access to land, including the rights to housing, food, water and work, and general principles in international law also provide protections relating to access to land, such as equality and nondiscrimination in ownership and inheritance.
Keywords: international law, international human rights, land rights
JEL Classification: I30, I31, K11, K33, O10, O18
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation