Linking Land Rights and the Right to Adequate Food in Ethiopia: Normative and Implementation Gaps
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CitationTura Husen Ahmed. (2017). Linking Land Rights and the Right to Adequate Food in Ethiopia: Normative and Implementation Gaps. Nordic Journal of Human Rights, (35(2)) , 85-105. 10.1080/18918131.2017.1312860.
The enjoyment of the human right to adequate food depends on access to and control over land and other natural resources and tenure security. However, smallholders and indigenous peoples in many developing countries face forced evictions or displacements from their lands with impunity. Ethiopia often displaces smallholders from their lands without adequate due process of law for stated objectives of promoting large-scale agricultural investments, urbanisation and industrial developments. This article explores the link between land rights and the right to adequate food, and appraises normative and implementation gaps in Ethiopia's laws regarding land rights and analyses their impact on the enjoyment of the right to adequate food. It finds that, instead of protecting individual and collective land rights of smallholders and indigenous peoples, Ethiopia's laws and practices facilitate dispossessions without adequate compensation and relocation options. Expropriation without just compensation has a huge negative impact on the livelihoods and food security of displaced land users, and has resulted in a political crisis in the State of Oromia. I argue that Ethiopia should reform land laws in light of its legal obligations under the international human rights law to respect, protect and fulfil the right to adequate food and ensure freedom from hunger.