Oxfam calls for investigation into forced eviction of more than 20,000 Ugandans to make way for international company’s plantations
[Re-posted from Oxfam America]
Washington, D.C.- The fast growing pace of land deals brokered around the world often comes at the expense of poor communities who lose their homes and livelihoods – sometimes violently – with no prior consultation, compensation or means of appeal, says a new report released today by international relief and development organization Oxfam.
In developing countries as many as 560 million acres of land, an area greater than the size of California, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Wyoming combined, have been sold, leased or licensed in large-scale land deals since 2001, mostly by international investors, according to the report Land and Power.
Lack of transparency and secrecy that surrounds these deals makes it difficult to get exact figures but preliminary research suggests that half of these acquisitions are in Africa, and cover an area nearly the size of Germany. However, many of the deals are in fact ‘land grabs’ where the rights and needs of the people living on the land are ignored, leaving them homeless and without land to grow enough food to eat and make a living.
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“Land investment should be good news for people in poverty, but the frenetic scramble for land risks taking development in reverse,” said Raymond C. Offenheiser, President of Oxfam America. “Investors have increasingly set their sights on land often ignoring the people who live there and depend on it to survive. This unprecedented drive is leaving many of the world’s poorest people worse, not better-off.”