Land Is a Human Right

This publication is a selected chapter of The Oxford Handbook of Land Politics, edited by Saturnino M. Borras Jr. and Jennifer C. Franco. This handbook is currently in development, with individual articles publishing online in advance of print publication. Defending Peasants Rights is thankfull for the authors giving access to their work.


This chapter explores the human right to land from both a historical and a normative perspective. It analyzes the key developments that have led to the recognition of the human right to land in international human rights law. The 􀁿rst part of the chapter explores land as a key component of other human rights, such as the rights to food, housing, property, and other economic, social, and cultural rights. The second part then describes how various international legal instruments came to recognize land as a self-standing human right. It discusses the various dimensions of the right to land and what this right means for di􀁼erent groups, with a focus on Indigenous Peoples, peasants, and other people working in rural areas. Finally, the third part explores current challenges for the implementation of the right to land, with an emphasis on forced evictions and displacements, the gender and intersectional dimensions, and the impacts of transnational corporations. The overall objective is to highlight the benefits of adopting a human rights approach to land issues, seeing land, not as a mere commodity, but as central to the realization of human rights.

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