The Role of Stakeholders in the Protection of Rights to Land for Communities` Livelihoods

The study set out to explore whether the Oil Palm Uganda Limited (OPUL) project implementation took into account human rights-based approaches in the acquisition of land for BIDCO in oil palm project in Kalangala. The study used a descriptive research method, employing mainly interviews, to collect data from a sample of 110 respondents who were affected by land evictions in the project area. The findings showed that CSOs have fairly dealt with capacity building in the areas of mobilisation of communities in groups and sensitisation on rights issues. However, the CSOs had not scored appreciably as far as information sharing, dialogue with local authorities and paralegal training is concerned. Furthermore, the study revealed that local governments, who are the duty bearers, did not take into account the human rights based approach and did not defend the community’s rights to land.

As a result, community land was grabbed for oil palm growing because communities’ rights to land were not protected by local government and civil society organisations. It was noted that communities could not effectively demand for their rights and entitlements in the project development stages because they did not have documents to their land and the implementation of the project involved many power centres. Therefore, the study recommends that issuance of certificates of bonafide land ownerships need to be expedited so that communities get security for their land from government since the largest form of land ownership in the country is customary.There is also need for local governments to learn about the right-based approach in project development. This can be done by civil society organisations conducting capacity building workshops for district councillors and technical staff to ensure that district planning committees and budgetary processes integrates rights-based approach in their programmes.
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