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The Upstream Journal

A magazine on social justice since 1975

Posts Tagged / law

  • Sep 01 / 2010
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Journal

Evicted for profit:Tracing the human costs of the global land grab

Global fuel and food demand has set off a wave of land grabbing – large companies acquiring large areas of land – in the developing world to grow export crops. The Gulf States want food for their countries, while European and American companies want land for biofuel production.Farmers in Segou

More than half of the public land in Nairobi has been subject to land grabbing. Jack Makau, a representative from Slum/Shack Dwellers International, says that many people subject to land grabbing are forced into slums.
“Nairobi has about four million people, and more than half of them live in slums. We have about 180 slums, where people don’t own the land where they live in very poor living conditions. More than half of this land was originally public land that was allocated to private developers by the state.”

Olivier DeSchutter, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food, says that the global food crisis, the financial crisis and global warming all contribute to the upsurge in land grabbing worldwide in an effort to produce more food.

“The demand for agricultural commodity has been rising significantly as a result of bio fuels production, as a result of demographic growths and as a result also of changing diets – people shifting to diets that are richer in animal proteins,” DeSchutter said in a telephone interview. “There is an increasing pressure on farmland to produce more so these organizations believe that developing large scale plantations can be one way to respond to this challenge.”

Development or exploitation?

The World Bank and its private sector branch, the International Financial Corporation (IFC), have played significant roles in facilitating the global land grab.
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  • May 10 / 2010
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Journal

eye on the World Bank and IMF:Experts assess compliance by Department of Finance with law requiring human rights in international aid

In 2008, the Canadian government passed the Official Development Assistance (ODA) Accountability Act in order to increase the effectiveness of Canadian aid money in developing countries.  The Act stipulates that through its ODA, Canada must contribute to poverty reduction, take into account the perspectives of the poor, and be consistent with international human rights issues.

10% of Canadian ODA is channeled to the World Bank by way of the Department of Finance. While the World Bank claims that it informally supports human rights, there is no operations policy that enforces them; the Bank claims that human rights is a political issue that falls beyond the scope of its mandate.

So, how does Department of Finance plan to uphold the Act with regards to human rights standards? Continue Reading

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