Notes from the Field
Landesa Center for Women's Land Rights (LCWLR)
A new website, Trust Law Women, founded by TrustLaw, a Thompson Reuters Foundation Service, will feature blogs by Renee Giovarelli and other LCWLR staff. The first couple of blogs are already on line. You can read them by visiting her page on the TrustLaw website.
Landesa is continuing its LCWLR Fellowship Program. The one-year program is for professionals dedicated to strengthening women's land rights in developing countries. The fellows gain the expertise and experience needed to work with policymakers and non-governmental organizations in developing countries to effectively advocate and obtain secure land rights for women and their families. The 2012 fellows will be announced in May.
First Women's Land Rights Center Opens in Odisha, India
On March 8, 2011, on the 100th anniversary of international women's day, the Indian state of Odisha opened its first Women's Land Rights Facilitation Centre. With the help of our programs and partners in India, the centre will help poor women obtain legal rights to land, to allow them to provide for their families and lift themselves out of poverty. Read More
An Example of Making an Impact: Landesa's Legal Aid Center in Chongqing
Our second legal aid center, which opened last year in Chongqing, is already having an impact. This month Center staff dealt with a common problem in China: women who were denied rights to their parents' land after they married and left their village. Chinese law states that land can be inherited equally by both men and women. Furthermore it says that women who move away from their parents' village when they marry should not be cut off from the benefits of that land. However, in practice Chinese women report that village officials, who control land use, sometimes refuse to honor women's claims to the land.
In one case this month, center staff helped three women who married out of the same village and then were denied benefits. Landesa senior attorney Li Ping personally visited the village and negotiated successfully on behalf of the women. Now they have legal control over their land.
From another village in the same county, Li spoke with farmers and collected evidence in order to prepare a class action against the party secretary of the village who illegally took back farmers' forestland rights and fraudulently transferred such rights to himself. The case is now a top priority for the legal aid center. Landesa will file a lawsuit on behalf of the 20 farmers to reclaim their forestland shortly.