Working towards these commitments
Secure Tenure Rights
Secure territorial rights for Indigenous Peoples
Transparent and accessible information
1. Securing land rights for minorities
In association with partners & volunteers, ILC member ALRD has been tracking Vested Property Tribunals aiming to collect information on released property under the vested property schedule of 19 districts out of 61 districts (excluding Chittagong Hill Tracts) in Bangladesh. The 19 districts are Barishal, Faridpur, Tangail, Jashore, Gazipur, Pabna, Satkhira, Nilphamari, Potuakhali, Jamalpur, Sunamgonj, Mymensing, Thakurgaon, Meherpur, Rajshahi, Bagerhat, Dinajpur, Sirajgonj and Natore.
2. Securing land rights for indigenous peoples
NES Bangladesh members work towards securing equal land rights. On March 23rd in 2019, the government officially recognized 50 indigenous communities—instead of 27—by issuing a gazette notification to protect the culture, tradition, heritage, and diversity of the country’s indigenous communities.
3. Making public land accessible to landless families
In the last two decades, some 1,500 landless peasant families have been struggling against land grabbers and a group of claimants to retain a total of 473.23 acres (191.59 ha) of Khas (Government owned) land.
A strong local movement has been mobilized with support of local and national organizations to raise the demands of access to land and finally 136 landless families have legally got the permanent settlement of 24 acres of agricultural khas lands in Chatmohar of Pabna district. Amongst the landless group, 21 single and widow women farmers have claimed and received a permanent settlement of 4 acres of land.
Land rights in Bangladesh
Land governance issues faced in Bangladesh
With an estimated population of 160 million distributed over 150,000 square kilometers, Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world and understandably the pressure on land is tremendous. This is further demonstrated by a historic absence of land reforms in the country, which has resulted in a huge disparity in land ownership.
Allegedly, 20% of the population owns 80% of land in Bangladesh, demonstrating that a vast number of citizens are functionally landless.
While the recent economic advancements of Bangladesh have contributed to a reduction in poverty, they have also exacerbated the fragile balance between land and people, resulting in an increased urbanization and demand for land dedicated to industrial development.
In addition, despite the gradual poverty reduction, a number of pockets with higher rate of poverty still remain, distributed mainly amongst the country’s indigenous minority population and several other marginalized and disadvantaged groups, including women and religious minorities. Absence of land ownership is a major reason of their economic poverty and in the case of indigenous peoples, this is worsened by the non-recognition of customary tenure by the government.