A year after witnessing the murder of his friend by a gang of farmers in Brazil’s agricultural heartland, indigenous activist Elson Gomes still fears for his life. Gomes also misses his friend, Clodiode Rodrigues was one of 61 land rights campaigners killed across Brazil last year, the highest level of violence since 2003. Gomes and Rodrigues are fighting for rights to their land.
Advocates for indigenous people in Ecuador have appealed to the government to pardon and release more than 177 activists and leaders who were arrested last month for participating in protests. Indigenous peoples face the highest levels of poverty in Ecuador, with little access to health care, justice or education.
Honduras is notoriously the most deadly country for land rights activists, including the farmers fighting to retain their land from the palm oil industry. Now, some of those farmers have sued a branch of the World Bank over hundreds of human rights violations.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced on Wednesday that narrowing the wealth inequality gap is at the top of this year’s agenda, and he plans to do so primarily by improving access to land, financial services and education for the poor.
There is a direct link between land rights and land grabs, says the IMF. Countries with better governance and land rights laws are less likely to agee to large-scale land purchases by foreign investors. That makes sense, but the additional claim that smallholder land ownership directly increases family farm productivity and income is now coming under question.
I’ve been reporting this week on the United Nations’ declared support (however vague) for expanding the global health agenda to…