Land registration often leads to dispossession: Report

Loop Author

Land registration and the issuing of titles often leads to dispossession as people are excluded from their own land and rights are given to outsiders.

Act Now!, in its paper ‘CUSTOMARY LAND REGISTRATION: Too Dangerous To Touch’, says once dispossessed, people can no longer rely on their land to provide the necessities of life.

“They are forced to become dependent on money and they start to lose their culture and identity.

customary land

“Attempts by government to move people off their land and give control to outsiders is ideologically driven and supported by the mistaken belief land needs to be ‘freed up’ and given over to large-scale projects in order to bring ‘development’.

“These agriculture, forestry and mining projects have a long history in PNG of failing to deliver meaningful benefits to landholders; while research shows land is more productive and profitable if left in local hands.”

Rather than focusing on land registration, the community advocacy organisation suggests that the best pathway for improving the lives of people in PNG is to ensure the protection of customary land.

“And for the needs and self-determination of local peoples to be at the forefront of development and economic policy.

“Land is the basis of life for many indigenous societies and this is especially true in Melanesia. Melanesians’ relationship with land is complex, multi-layered and has a long-history,” says Act Now!

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