Stop eviction and land grabbing – fight the causes of flight

Illegal logging in Cambodia Illegal logging in Cambodia (© CHRTF)

200 million hectares of land worldwide – a total area larger than Mexico – have been impacted by land grabbing and eviction. Smallholders and indigenous people are being driven from their ancestral land, often with the tacit approval of national governments. The UN must stop this abuse of power.

Call to action

To: the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, and the 193 members of the UN General Assembly

The UN must draw up a pact against the causes of flight that would give all humans the right to live in their homeland in security and without fear of eviction.

Read letter

Experts such as Professor Saskia Sassen put the worldwide magnitude of land grabbing at 200 million hectares. On this vast area – larger than the entire country of Mexico – smallholders and indigenous people are being driven from their land in order to secure access to water or mineral resources or cultivate energy crops on an industrial scale.

When migration is discussed in the UN without even mentioning the causes of flight such as land grabbing and eviction, it is a slap in the face for those who are losing their homes at this very moment. Corrupt authorities are selling out their countries to multinational corporations, while critics, journalists and anyone who stands up to them is harassed and criminalized. Laws are being twisted in a way that disenfranchises and expropriates minorities. All this is only possible because no one holds these governments accountable. There can be no room for compromise whenever human rights are at stake.

Land grabbing violates human rights

There is no question that land grabbing is a violation of fundamental human rights. One such example is Cambodia: With the support of the military, people were evicted from an area of 100,000 hectares to make way for a sugarcane plantation. An isolated case? Definitely not.

Governments play an active role

Multinational corporations everywhere are interested in exploiting new land. The more corrupt and unstable a country’s government is, the easier it becomes for them to strike a deal.

The United Nations must address these abuses, condemn them and take action against them in order to serve the people again. It is crucial that sanctions with teeth are put in place against governments that abuse their power, exploit their country’s resources and expel smallholders and indigenous people from their land.

Back­ground

The machinations in Seruyan, a district of the Indonesian province of Central Kalimantan province on Borneo, have been documented thoroughly. Investigative journalists have brought to light how family members and friends of the regional governor have divided the rainforest and its resources among themselves. They also made it clear how critics are silenced and new dynasties emerging at the cost of local people.

Our petitions

Millions of people in Africa, Indonesia and Latin America are being driven from their land for soy, palm oil and other agricultural commodities. Rainforest Rescue has been speaking out against these abuses for years.

URGENT: Please help us save Kinipan forest!

Stop Monsanto soy!

Save the orangutans and tigers – tell the EU to drop biofuels!

Cambodia: Sugar for the EU is destroying our land

Land grabbing monitor

Land Matrix, an organization that has been tracking contracts that have become public since 2012, currently lists more than 1,500 land deals.

Letter

To: the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, and the 193 members of the UN General Assembly

Millions of people in Africa, Indonesia and Latin America are being driven from their land for soy, oil palm and other plantations. The UN’s “global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration” will not help these people – only a compact against the causes of flight can accomplish that.

The UN must draw up a pact against the causes of flight that would give all humans the right to live in their homeland in security and without fear of eviction.

A pact against the causes of flight would

- ensure all humans the right to live in their homeland in security and without fear of displacement
- put sanctions in place against governments that tolerate, support or initiate eviction and land grabbing
- prohibit the import of raw materials obtained on indigenous land or from countries in which civil war is raging
- ban the use of palm oil, soy and other products from industrial monocultures.

The UN must not express solidarity with governments involved in eviction and land grabbing in order to exploit the planet’s rainforest regions.

Yours faithfully,

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