Forced displacement in connection with land-related projects is common and in breach with several human rights. People who depend on family farming might end up losing their homes and incomes when forced to move.
The establishment of a new mine, commercial plantation or dam construction can create new jobs – but also force people to move or restricting their access to natural resources. This can have a major impact on their ability to support themselves and to survive.
Forced displacement in connection with new land-related projects is common and in breach with several human rights. People who depend on family farming might end up losing their homes and incomes when forced to move without being offered a viable alternative. They may also lose a way of life that they have not chosen to abandon.
Communities that might be affected by a company’s activities are entitled to being consulted before new projects are initiated. For certain groups, such as indigenous peoples, there are special guidelines outlining how that process should be managed known as Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC). In order for a project to be sustainable, it must have local support and benefit the local community.
Dialogue a must
Conflicts can arise in the local community between those who are positive towards the project and those who are not. Companies have a responsibility to maintain a dialogue with people in the area where they operate, and to create secure and versatile channels for people to report problems connected with the project. Local communities that are adversely affected by companies’ operations are entitled to reasonable compensation.
At the local level, civil society representatives who criticise new projects can be particularly vulnerable. Companies have a responsibility to respect human rights activists’ right to operate freely, without falling victim to reprisals or stigmatisation.
I signed the deal voluntarily but did not fullt understand it. Most of us do not know how to read or write. We signed because they said we would get money and that they should make life better for us through schools, hospitals and new roads.
Landowner affected by a etanol project in Sierra Leone
Report: No land, no power