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Land grabs robbing the world's poor

4 June 2013

The modern day rush for land has resulted in the daylight robbery of the world’s poor, human rights activists today (4 June 2013) warned. Their homes, jobs and livelihoods are taken from them - often violently and with the collusion of the military or paramilitary groups.

Rachel Ibreck, lecturer in Peace and Conflict in the University of Limerick said: 'This global rush for land is being driven by the demands of wealthy Western nations and our increasing demand for food, fuel and other commodities. 

'Governments have failed to effectively control what has happened, and voluntary codes of conduct for states are an insufficient political response.  

'In particular the European Union biofuels policy is having a disastrous impact on the enjoyment of the right to food in a number of developing countries.'

As conflict over scarce land is increasing at an unprecedented scale, civil society movements around the world are resisting. Human rights defenders, at great personal risk, are refusing to let violence and pillage win the day. They work in solidarity with communities and help rebuild lives devastated by this violent denial of human rights.

Rosamond Bennett, CEO of Christian Aid Ireland, said: 'We all need to challenge the injustice of land grabs. In 2013 there are a number of political opportunities, the upcoming G8 meeting and the formulation of the new set of development goals at the United Nations later this year.

'Ireland made the preparation of a strong European position a key priority of its EU Presidency and conclusions on this were recently published- they have committed to tackle the root causes of poverty.

'Without adequate political focus on the obscenity of land grabbing any new targets to tackle poverty will not be realised.'

Christian Aid Ireland and the Centre of Peace and Development, University of Limerick, have brought activists and academics from some of the countries most affected by land grabbing to participate in a two day seminar. 

Interviewees will also be available from the countries affected, as well as experts from Christian Aid and the University of Limerick.



For more information contact Karol Balfe in the Christian Aid Dublin office +353 1 775 8094 or +353 86 1906 839 (m), email kbalfe@christian-aid.org or Adrian Horsman, Head of Media, in the Belfast office +44 28 906 99 123 or +44 7710 764 093 (m), email ahorsman@christian-aid.org

Notes to editors:

1. Land deals under consideration or negotiation worldwide between 2000 and 2010 amounted to a total of 203 million hectares. This land area is equivalent to over 23 times the size of the island of Ireland, confirming an unprecedented rush for land over the last decade with many more deals going unreported.

2. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 50 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.

3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. Further details at www.actalliance.org.

4. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit www.christianaid.ie.