Human rights principles to discipline “land grabbing”

[11/06/09] GENEVA / BRUSSELS - The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Mr. Olivier De Schutter, issued today a call to consider as a minimum a set of eleven human rights principles in the elaboration of transnational large-scale land acquisitions and leases, more commonly referred to as “land grabbing”.

His call comes at a time when Governments prepare to negotiate on responsible investment in agriculture at a forthcoming G8 Summit. The Special Rapporteur highlighted the recommended principles at a press conference today in Brussels. He expects these human rights principles will help achieving a consensus on the establishment of a multilateral approach. The principles are grounded in international human rights law, including the right to food, the right to self-determination of peoples and the right to development; as well as in international labour legislation.

Following Mr De Schutter, the human rights framework is thus not only an obligation for states, but an opportunity: ‘While these principles may give the impression of representing additional constraints, they should be seen as true success factors in the short and long term. Land represents not only the main means to access and procure food for millions of smallholders and their families, but it is also an essential element for the identity of certain peoples and communities. If investment agreements work against these aspects, they may backfire. Human rights principles and standards can, once more, guide this emerging trend.”

ReadPDF Press release “UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to food recommends guidelines to discipline ‘land grabbing’”(11 June 2009)
ReadPDF Statement ‘Large-scale land acquisitions and leases: eleven principles to address the human rights challenge’ (11 June 2009)