Large-scale land acquisition and human rights at the crossroads: quest for a rights-based approach to land administration in Ethiopia
Large-scale land investment through a form of forceful acquisition, dubbed “land grabbing”, is a perennial concern for local community and indigenous peoples in Africa, particularly in Ethiopia. This article explores the human rights impacts of such large-scale land acquisition in Ethiopia and discusses ways of ameliorating its effects. It demonstrates how largescale land acquisition in the country undermines substantive rights of the local and indigenous peoples, including land rights, right to food, development, culture, self-determination, labour rights, environmental rights, as well as their procedural right to public participation, prior informed consent, access to information and justice, all of which are recognized under international instruments, and the constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE). The article advocates for a human rights-based approach to large-scale land acquisition regime that respects and integrates the aforementioned substantive and procedural rights of local and indigenous peoples. This also involves government’s obligation to implement effective human right impact assessment, efficient monitoring, evaluation, dispute resolution mechanism, and empowering local community and other stakeholders to safeguard the rights of affected community. By so doing, the country can mobilize the large-scale land investment for sustainable development without compromising the rights of local and indigenous peoples.
Keywords: Ethiopia, Human Rights, Large-Scale Land Acquisition