Welcome to our newsfeed! Here you will find updates about our organization’s activities, as well as new features that arise on our continually expanding website. Check out our blog for more in-depth observations about legal empowerment from leading scholars and practitioners.
A forthcoming article by Rachael Knight and co-author Marianna Bicchieri, Chief Technical Advisor on land and gender at the Food and Agricultural Organization, points to the importance of addressing women’s land rights at the community-level, rather than solely through individual land titling.
Namati’s work in Burma providing legal assistance and advice to farmers facing a new land registration law has been recognised in the annual CLASSY Awards. The Burma program’s work was named as a ‘Top 5′ nominee in the category ‘Livelihood Development and Quality of Life’.
Experts say the media and policymakers are ignoring the enormous role African middle classes and local ruling elites, not just foreign investors, are playing in inequitable land transfer, or ‘land grabbing’, in Africa in recent years.
Last week in Washington, DC, Namati championed legal empowerment and local capacity-building as key elements of community land protection efforts. Learn more about the experience and research we shared.
Namati’s Rachael Knight argues that “providing a poorly governed, disempowered community with documentation for its land rights without ensuring intra-community mechanisms to hold leaders accountable to good governance may make land dealings even more unjust and quicken the pace of land alienation.” Read her full opinion piece here.
As a special committee undertakes to reform Sierra Leone’s constitution – which was established in 1991, just before the country’s decade-long war – Namati’s Sonkita Conteh makes six substantive recommendations to ensure that the new document “addresses the current realities of our nation”.
Around the globe a massive land grab is taking place. Big-money interests are approaching rural communities, eager to strike deals for forests, farmland, pastures and coasts. Millions of people, misled about their rights and the nature of these offers, are being exploited. Namati’s solution is to help communities use the power of the law to protect their lands and livelihoods.
A new report from Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Clinic confirms that women, minorities and immigrant communities struggle disproportionately to access justice in the United States. As the barriers to adequate representation for poorer members of society persist, prominent advocates are calling it a “human rights crisis.”
In New York, chief judge Jonathan Lippman has put forward innovative changes to the ways lawyers are trained and supported to enter the work force. In addition, Lippman seeks to train grassroots non-lawyer advocates, or “court navigators”, to assist people who otherwise would not have access to legal representation.
High stakes in Liberia where, amidst the country’s efforts to pass a new national land policy, expansion of the Equatorial Palm Oil Company threatens to disinherit Grand Bassa County communities of their land. Namati partner SDI is working closely with communities – and the government – to put a stop to the company’s inequitable land survey efforts and ensure that community rights to decision-making are respected.
Well-trained community paralegals at organizations like Network member TAWLA are working steadily with rural populations in Tanzania to resolve disputes and ensure meaningful access to legal redress. A new “basket” funding mechanism called the Legal Services Facility is helping make it all happen.
A 2011 government notification declared India’s entire Gulf of Kutch a ‘Critical Vulnerable Coastal Area’ because of its ecological fragility. But the coast is not being protected. Researcher Kanchi Kohli writes about the grave destruction of livelihoods and environment that continues along the coast, with ongoing displacement and legal violations that may mean the damage can never be undone.
Amid chronic delays, excessive personal cost for jurors, and a growing lack of public confidence in the judiciary, Namati’s Sonkita Conteh suggests that “trial by jury should be excised from our current criminal process” in Sierra Leone.
Based on field reporting by community paralegals, the brief urges meaningful implementation of a 2011 court decision which found Kenya in violation of the African Children’s Rights Charter because of discriminatory rules and practices being applied to Kenyan Nubian children.
A new report from the Rights and Resources Initiative shows that “the amount of land owned or designated for use by indigenous peoples and local communities is increasing but at a slower rate than past years.” Learn more in the Guardian.