How can we prevent land grabbing in Tigray?

Mekelle:  2 December 2023 (Tigray Herald)

How can we prevent land grabbing in Tigray?

By Yerga Yaecobe

To address the issue of land grabbing in Tigray’s major cities, particularly impacting Mekele and surrounding areas, a comprehensive strategy involving legal, political, and community-based measures is necessary. Here’s a multifaceted approach:

Legal Measures:

Advocate for and implement special laws addressing post-war recovery and preventing land grabbing.
Establish a legal framework that protects farmers’ land rights and ensures fair compensation for any land transactions.
Strengthen property rights and land tenure systems to discourage illegal land seizures.
Political Engagement:

Collaborate with local and regional authorities to raise awareness about the detrimental impacts of land grabbing on security and community stability.
Encourage policymakers to prioritize the protection of farmers’ rights in post-genocide recovery programs.
Establish a task force or committee dedicated to addressing land grabbing issues, involving key stakeholders such as government officials, community leaders, and legal experts.
Community Empowerment:

Conduct awareness campaigns to educate local communities about their land rights and the consequences of land grabbing.
Facilitate community dialogues to gather insights, concerns, and suggestions from affected farmers.
Encourage the formation of local watchdog groups to monitor and report any suspicious land transactions.
International Support and Advocacy:

Seek support from international organizations and human rights bodies to condemn land grabbing practices and advocate for protective measures.
Engage diplomatic channels to garner support and apply diplomatic pressure on entities involved in or supporting land grabbing.
Technology and Documentation:

Utilize technology such as satellite imagery and GIS mapping to monitor land use changes and identify potential instances of land grabbing.
Encourage the documentation of land ownership records to create a transparent and accountable system.
Conflict Resolution Mechanisms:

Establish mechanisms for peaceful resolution of land disputes, incorporating traditional conflict resolution practices and legal processes.
Ensure that displaced farmers have access to alternative lands or fair compensation for their losses.
Monitoring and Enforcement:

Implement a robust monitoring system to track compliance with land laws and regulations.
Enforce penalties for those found guilty of engaging in land grabbing practices, including legal action and potential confiscation of illegally acquired lands.
Collaboration with NGOs:

Partner with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) specializing in land rights, post-conflict recovery, and human rights to provide additional expertise and resources.
By combining legal, political, community-based, and international efforts, a comprehensive strategy can be developed to combat land grabbing and protect the rights of farmers in Tigray’s major cities during the post-genocide recovery period.

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