'Territory is Everything': Afro-Colombian Communities, Human Rights and Illegal Land Grabs

Citation:

Bratspies, Rebecca. 2020. “’Territory is Everything’: Afro-Colombian Communities, Human Rights and Land Grabs.” HRLR Online 290-323. 

Author: Rebecca Bratspies

Abstract:

In Colombia, the struggle over land rights often pits the cultural and economic interests of indigenous and marginalized peoples against the governments that are supposed to protect their rights under law. Rural Afro-Colombian women seeking to vindicate their land rights find themselves at the mercy of multiple vectors of discrimination: they are black; they are women; and they are rural farmers. Their land rights are under threat—from land occupations from below and State Development plans from above. An unholy mix of gender and racial discrimination compounds their struggle. Nevertheless, Afro-Colombian women are at the vanguard of land rights advocacy in Colombia. This article documents their struggle for vindication. Part I begins by situating Colombia in the broader, global movement for land rights, and then describes Colombia’s Afro-descendant population, their landholdings and the main threats to their land rights. Part II outlines the primary legal and political sources of land dispossession in Colombia, and concludes by proposing a path forward for Colombia to protect, promote and realize the rights of Afro-Colombian women to their territory.

Topics: Development, Gender, Women, Land grabbing, Race, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2020

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