Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development. Newsletter Land Grab Special Edition

28 Aug 2012

This edition of Forum News is dedicated to the issue of land grabbing and its impact on women’s rights.

In the past year APWLD members have been increasingly engaged in struggles against land grabbing and forced evictions. This has been on the agenda for many of our members for some time but recently, in the space of a few weeks, we witnessed three attacks on members and partners advocating for women’s rights to own and control land – in Nepal, Cambodia and Papua New Guinea. And one of our members in the Philippines was recently part of an international fact-finding report on land grabs affecting indigenous women.

Evictions, destruction of lands and livelihoods, violence, and criminalisation of those who oppose it are inevitable consequences of a global economic system that worships profit and economic growth above all. This issue provides clear examples of what happens to women and their families when corporations and governments decide their lives are dispensible. The issue also reveals the resistance being mounted by poor people, particularly women. In many cases, women are both the victims of the landgrabs and the leaders of movements to resist them. This often results in attacks upon, and criminalisation and imprisonment of women leaders. 

We also look at the implications of the changing political landscape in Burma/ Myanmar and the risk that the rush of investment funds and aid will open the door for land grabs and evictions in the name of ‘development’. Burma/ Myanmar can learn a lot from both the failures and achievements of its neighbours, says Seng Bu, a woman of the Kachin peoples.

The issue also looks at what we can do to advance  the movement for land reforms and rights. Internationally there is increasing recognition that it is access to and control of land and resources that is most likely to lead to a reduction in poverty and an increase in dignity. APWLD will be  campaigning for international development goals that measure access and control over land and resources- not GDP and dollars per day. We will argue that these measurements should include sex-disaggregated data, but they should not be limited to a simple calculation of women compared to men. There must be recognition that the world’s resources belong to the world’s people, not  corporations, nor wealthy government representatives.


We’ve also included in this edition an article by feminist human rights scholar, Purna Sen, which analyses the use of ‘morality’ language in international human rights standards. Her paper reveals that while human rights standards are intended to establish a global moral code, the inclusion of morality is most likely to be employed against women’s autonomy. We’re exploring this as it looks  like morality could feature in the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration currently being drafted. Further analysis of these issues and updates can be found on our website. I hope you will be enraged, inspired and activated by the stories here.

Download the newsletter here: 

or click on the link below



Attached files