Why is customary protection failing to prevent land grabbing? | Land Portal

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Date of publication: 
September 2009
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The protection given to the land rights of women, orphans and any other vulnerable groups in Northern and Eastern Uganda is probably as good as can be found anywhere in the world. Customary land law is based on three main principles. First, everyone is entitled to land, and no-one can ever be denied land rights. A second principle is that all inherited land is family land, never individual property. Customary land never belongs to men, it always belongs to the family: the man’s role in ‘managing’ the land comes from his status as head of the family, and not because the land is his personal property. A third principle in that the clan maintains powers of oversight, to ensure that everyone is granted land rights and that the interests of children (and even the unborn generations) are considered. Thus, in order to sell land one needs clan approval, because the seller has to show that their children can still be provided for after land is sold, and the clan must ascertain that the whole family agrees to the sale.

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Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE) is an independent public policy research and advocacy think tank based in Uganda working in East and Southern Africa. ACODE was first registered in 1999 as a Non-governmental organization (NGO). In 2004, the organization was incorporated as a company limited by guarantee and without having a share capital. ACODE is one of the most dynamic and robust regional leaders in cutting-edge public policy research and analysis in a range of areas including governance, trade, environment, and science and technology.

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