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The Emerging Human Right to Land

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image of International Community Law Review

This article identifies the emergence of the right to land in international human rights law, and which measures of implementation are called for to ensure the full realization of this right. In certain contexts, the right to land may be seen as a self-standing right, whether it is protected as an element of the right to property, whether it is grounded on the special relationship of indigenous peoples to their lands, territories and resources, or whether it is a component of the right to food. In other cases, the right to land may be said to be instrumental to the right to food: it is protected as an indispensable means through which people can produce food, for their own consumption or as a source of income allowing them, in turn, to purchase food. In making the case for the explicit recognition of the right to land in international human rights law, this article recalls the current pressures on land; it examines the protection of landusers in their existing access to natural resources; and it discusses whether agrarian reform may be seen as a component of the progressive realization of the emerging human right to land.

Affiliations: 1: University of Louvain (UCL), and at the College of Europe


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