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Half the land in the world today, including forests, grasslands, and small farms, belongs to and is managed by local communities and indigenous peoples. Two and a half billion people depend on this land for their livelihoods. Yet it is estimated that these communities have recognized rights over only one fifth of their land. National governments are obligated by international human rights law to recognize the rights of indigenous peoples and to protect the right to food and other rights of rural communities. In addition to fulfilling human rights, there are many additional benefits of protecting community land rights: reduction of conflict, reduction of involuntary migration pressures, and protection of the ecosystems that cool our warming planet. Unfortunately, much community-held land is at risk of being grabbed by business interests, with the complicity of governments.

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Author: Doug Hertzler
Date Published: March 2019
Number of pages: 4