‘Pass Land Rights Bill’

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-Liberian Women Plead With VP Taylor

By Jackson C. Clay, Jr.

Scores of Liberian women Thursday, April 19, 2018 stormed the grounds of the Capitol Building in demand of the passage of the 2014 version of the draft land right Bill.

aggrieved women at Capitol Building

The women who came from diverse social background were dressed in white T-shit carrying placards with inscriptions “Protect our land, Please Pass the land right Bill and we need our land.”

Reading the petition on behalf of the women, the head only identified as Oretha said they have gone to plead with the Vice President, Jewel Howard Taylor to use her influence as Vice President to ensure the passage of the law.

“Liberian women from diverse social background call on Madam Jewel Howard Taylor, Vice President of the Republic of Liberia to prevail on members of the legislature to pass the 2014 version of the Draft Land Right Bill into law,” Oretha stressed in the petition.

Oretha stated that their call is made against the background that the version of the Bill passed by the House of Representatives in August of 2017 is not in the best interest of the ordinary people, thus, it undermines land rights of ordinary Liberians, especially communities within rural areas.

Oretha indicated that she believes without communities having access to their land, it would be very difficult for the current government to achieve its Pro-Poor agenda.

However, she pointed out some issues within the Bill passed by the House of Representatives in 2017, which if not relooked at and properly pass would create serious problem for citizens.

She named tribal certificate and other property documents which within the law are been recognized, but without taking into account measures that would help communities’ land rights.

The women head noted that she believes this recognition of tribal certificate will open doors to what she calls large scale land grab by private individuals and companies in the country.

“The Bill states that 30% of customary land will automatically leave communities ownership and go to the government to be used for public land without due process, FPIC or payment to the communities that own the land, this is likely to violate the constitution,” Madam Oretha noted in her petition.

The group named the issues of women land rights, protected and proposed protected area and declared as government land and the right of communities to inform consent as some of the law if not addressed would create crisis.

Meanwhile, the women group added that if this Bill is passed into law fully in its current form and shape, it would lead to a law not protecting the interest of families in rural parts of Liberia that depend on the land for their survival.

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