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Land and human rights: Towards a rights-based approach for addressing commercial pressures on land

Lorenzo Cotula

Report/paper, 5 pages

Land is life for millions of people worldwide, providing the basis for livelihood activities, social identity, political organisation and the collective sense of justice. But socio-economic changes at local to global levels are exacerbating pressures on land. Law plays a key role in shaping these pressures and their impacts, often undermining the land rights of marginalised people. In providing authoritative interpretation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, a General Comment on land and human rights can offer strategic direction for efforts to secure land rights and tackle the pressures, both in law and in practice – but only if it properly addresses the deep-seated challenges.

This submission was made in response to a public consultation that the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights organised to support its development of the General Comment. The submission was presented at a “general discussion” convened by the Committee in Geneva on 14 October 2019.

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Cotula L (2019) Land and human rights: Towards a rights-based approach for addressing commercial pressures on land. Contribution to Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: General discussion on States obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and governance of land tenure. IIED, London.
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