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UN adopts guidelines to protect land grab

Last Updated: Sunday, May 13, 2012 - 16:02

Washington: The United Nations has adopted international guidelines to prevent rich countries from grabbing land in developing nations.

According to the rules, governments have been asked to protect the rights of indigenous people who use the land, the BBC reports.

Aid agencies, however, have said that it would be very difficult to ensure that the guidelines are universally implemented.

There have been growing concerns that foreign governments or companies buy large areas of land to farm.

It is estimated that about 200m hectares, an area eight times the size of Britain, has been bought or leased over the past decade, much of it in Africa and Asia.

In Africa countries such as Ethiopia, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone have all signed major land deals with foreign investors.

It is hoped this new agreement will secure the land that poor people who have used for long.

It also emphasises the responsibility of businesses and multinational corporations to respect human rights when they move in to an area.

Authorities have often argued that big international deals bring investment and new technology to a region that benefits the locals in an area.

However, this is not always the reality and human rights organisations have highlighted cases where thousands of people have been forced to leave their ancestral lands for foreign investors.


First Published: Sunday, May 13, 2012 - 16:02
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