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Omissions discovered in Land Rights Bill before Legislature –CSOs Land Rights Working Group

Jos Garneo Cephas Sr. (garneo69@gmail.com)
(L-R) Sustainable Development Institute(SDI)'s Program Coordinator, Ali Kaba, the Executive Director of RRF, James Yarsiah responding to questions while Madam Roselyn Korleh, following the reading of the statement looking on.
(L-R) Sustainable Development Institute(SDI)'s Program Coordinator, Ali Kaba, the Executive Director of RRF, James Yarsiah responding to questions while Madam Roselyn Korleh, following the reading of the statement looking on.

MONROVIA, LIBERIA-The Liberian Civil Society Working on Land Rights Reform says it has discovered the omission of several aspects of the 2014 Land Rights Bail currently before the National Legislature pending passage.

The twenty- eight different CSOs land working groups said the tempering of the original document presented to the Legislature has caused outstanding shortfalls in the Bill ranging from contradictions to omissions of substantial and essential sub-articles ofthe Bill.

The CSOs’ statement read by member of the working group, Rights and Rice Foundation (RRF)’s Communication Officer, Roselyn Korleh, Wednesday, June 13, 2018 in Monrovia, said:”Inserting of new provisions in the Bill weakens the security of customary land ownership, and directly contradict thespirit of the broader National Land Rights policy and the Constitution of Liberia”.

In spite of the misgivings, the CSOs group said they still have confidence that the Lower House will return and re – inject the initial components of the 2014 documents that made up the Land Rights Bill before it is passed.

The National Civil Society Council of Liberia (NCSCL), the Women Land Rights Task Force (WLRTF) and communities across Liberia recently presented recently a petition of about 70,000 people to the public calling on law makers to pass a pro-community Land Rights Bill.

The petition was signed by 45 chief from across the country including 40,000 Liberians youth, women and elders.  

Part of the claims include attempting to transfer Tribal Certificate into deeds without adequate security and safeguard is not helpful, while the reclassification or designating public land without community concern and concessions and-land based investments must require a Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) for affected communities among others.

A five point recommendation by the group said: "Tribal Certificate cannot be transferred in deeds without adequate security and safeguards, and that Customary Lands cannot be re-classified or designated as public lands without community consent".

The recommendation also states:"All concessions and land-based investments require the FPIC  of affected community, Public land and protected areas need to be designated in a transparent and participatory was and that women should have equal rights to land and equal participation in government".

The group also expressed concern over what will happen to the more than three million Liberians, especially people of rural communities who do not have land tenure security to their land nor natural resources they  occupied,  and have worked on prior to the formation of Liberia.
 

 


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