by Jo Whitaker
Meet Patricia. She’s a mother of six from a small town called Casiguran in the Philippines. Until recently, she and her husband lived next to the sea, where they catch fish to make their living.
But two years ago, Patricia and her family were forced to leave their home by a so-called ‘development’ project. They were not consulted, they were not given proper compensation, and the replacement housing promised has not yet been built. Patricia and her family now live an uncertain existence in temporary housing, far from the sea and their source of income.
This film tells Patricia’s story, and that of others like her, whose homes and communities are threatened by a legal land grab. We can’t tell you their real names, or show you their faces, because it’s not safe to do so. But they are not simply passive victims. On the contrary, they are standing up against the land grab that is threatening to tear their community apart.
And they’re not alone. All around the world, thousands of people have been taking a stand against the global rush to grab land. From Guatemala to India, the Philippines to Tanzania, ordinary people are standing up to demand their rights to land are respected.
At Oxfam, we’ve been supporting communities to demand their rights to land for years. Since October 2012, we’ve also been calling on the World Bank to put a hold on its large scale land investments while it creates better rules to help stop land grabbing. Although the Bank is not involved in Patricia’s case, it funds many big land deals and influences how land is bought and sold on a global scale. This means it has the power to help stop land grabbing, as well as to better protect land rights around the world.
Last week, following six months of campaigning, World Bank President Kim acknowledged the problem of land grabs and committed to review the Bank’s practices. This is good news, but the Bank didn’t commit to freeze its investments in the meantime, and there are some areas where the Bank’s statement fell short. The Bank’s Spring Meetings begin tomorrow. As the Bank has refused to receive our petition that over 50,000 people worldwide have signed during this important event, we and thousands of people around the world will be taking action to highlight those 50,000 signatures. We’ll be watching to make sure that the Bank not only delivers on the commitments it has made, but also does more to make sure that poor peoples’ land rights are properly protected.
Jo Whitaker is a campaigner with Oxfam. This blog originally appeared at:
The World Bank has refused to receive Oxfam’s petition, signed by over 50,000