HIC-HLRN contributing to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural rights consultation on the meaning of the right to land

The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) is exploring the meaning of land within the human rights obligations of states parties to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Everyone needs land – to be enjoyed as a requisite of human life on this planet.

The UN CESCR is currently asking for inputs to a draft General Comment on “Land and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights”. HIC-HLRN is contributing to review this new human rights instrument, to promote a wide discussion on the draft General Comment both to ensure the relevance of its content and to encourage the adoption of its principles and guidance.

Acces to land is needed to realize our human rights

Land-use management and land tenure security are among the basic building blocks of environmental, economic, social and cultural sustainability in every region. Land is also the first in a chain of elements needed to realize human rights to adequate housing and livelihood, adequate food, health and culture, and its governance is also a major driver in local and global environmental wellbeing.

Access to, and control over the use of land has been increasingly recognised as central to cultural life and identity. Land is central to realizing the rights of indigenous peoples, as recognised by the ILO Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention 169 (1989), the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007) and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (2018). Land is also essential for the realization of self-determination, a fundamental principle of human rights implementation and basic criterion of the state itself.

The importance of land and land administration is explicitly recognised in the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals: no poverty (Goal 1), zro hunger (Goal 2), gender equality (Goal 5), clean water and sanitation (Goal 6), sustainable cities and communities (Goal 11), life below water (Goal 14), life on land (Goal 15). In the New Urban Agenda (2016), states repeated their commitment to ensure land fulfill its social and environmental functions.

The current process

The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights is now developing a general comment on Land and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The purpose of this general comment is to clarify the specific obligations of States parties relating to land and the governance of tenure of land under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. By way of public consultation, the Committee invites interested individuals and organizations, including States, national human rights institutions, civil society organizations, academics, international and regional organizations and experts, to make a written contribution to the draft general comment.

The draft General Comment on Land and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (text in English) recognizes the broad and complex relationship between land and human rights. It proposes the first guidance for the treatment of land within the human rights obligations of states. If and when adopted, the draft General Comment is likely to influence policy and law on land governance and management in many states, as well as reviews of states parties to the Covenant.

Partnering to review this new human rights instrument:

HIC-HLRN seeks to promote a wide discussion on the draft General Comment both to ensure the relevance of its content and to encourage the adoption of its principles and guidance. This is a collective effort with:

  • The Habitat International Coalition is an independent alliance of non-profit organizations defending and implementing human rights relating to housing and habitat;
  • Global Land Tool Network is a partnership committed to increasing access to land and tenure security for all;
  • The Geneva Human Rights Platform is a leader in promoting understanding of, and access to, the international human rights framework and Geneva based forums;
  • The Geneva Cities Hub promotes cities’ access to Geneva based institutions.

If you want to join this conversation, join us!

Tuesday, 11 May 2021, 14:30 – 16:30 CEST (live on Zoom from Villa Moynier, Geneva)

Next May 11th 2021 we will be providing inputs to the draft general comment on Land and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. More info of the event:

Registration / Languages

The meeting will be held primarily in English, with simultaneous interpretation into Spanish and French

Please register via the following link: https://geneva-academy-ch.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcpcO2rqzIjHtfMcmfl-55EtjkvdBUCvJSi

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Agenda

14:20 – 14:30   Welcome Coffee / Login to Zoom meeting

14:30 – 14:45   Welcome and Introductory Remarks

  • Felix Kirchmeier, GHRP
  • Robert Lewis-Lettington, UN Habitat / GLTN
  • Kamelia Kemileva, GCH
  • Joseph Schechla, Habitat International Coalition

14:45 – 15:05   Presentation of the Draft Text

  • Michael Windfuhr, CESCR
  • Rodrigo Uprimny, CESCR (tbc)

15:05 – 15:20   Placing the draft GC in the wider human rights framework

  • Within the UN Human Rights Treaty Body system
  • Links to UN Declaration and Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
  • Links to UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants (UNDROP)

15:20 – 16:15   Open Discussion

16:15– 16:30    Next steps for providing input to the draft / Closing of the meet

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