TMG Think Tank for Sustainability

Land governance in Malawi: assessing the results of human rights-based monitoring initiatives

A workshop conveying multiple partners from civil society, academia and government

Last week, TMG met with partners the Danish Institute for Human Rights and the Malawi Human Rights Commission for a workshop aiming to assess the results of human rights-based monitoring initiatives of the Commission that identified gaps in responsible land governance in Malawi.

Joined by various CSOs, research institutes as well as the Ministry of Lands and the Legal Aid Bureau, the participants agree about key messages, defined ways for joint advocacy for the identified key challenges and discussed how to report on these challenges in the upcoming shadow report to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Among insights, Janet Mkomera, Senior Legal Aid Advocate of the Legal Aid Bureau, underlined the importance of improved land governance in Malawi, reporting that "40% of all complaints the Legal Aid Bureau is dealing with, relates to land. Most of these cases deal with conflicts over land after decease of a partner or divorce, mostly affecting women. They don’t know the land laws and don’t understand them, as they are all in English".

By how is access to information related to the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure? Using the Human Rights and Land Navigator, a tool unveiled during the last UNCCD COP, participants were able to see how the VGGT and the right on access to information are linked. The Navigator shows that States should ensure that people have access to relevant, transparent, timely and adequate information in a language and form and through means adequate to their cultural methods (UNDROP 11.1 and 11.2). When this is not respected, people will not be able to claim their land rights.

Our work on human rights-based land governance

Our work on human rights-based land governance focuses on land conflicts and violations of rights experienced by vulnerable and marginalized land users. It aims to strengthen responsible land governance to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable and marginalized communities in Malawi. It does so by using a monitoring methodology linking land conflicts to possible human rights violations and the respective treaties. Visit the project page for more information.

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