Human Rights Based Approach to Land Reform
Many rights, most especially of the second and third generations, are taken as human rights because they constitute a prerequisite to secure recognized other human rights of previous generations. Access to land falls typically under this category and can therefore be regarded among these rights. Indeed, access to land is a precondition for an equal access to food and housing; as an item of cultural liberty, especially critical for indigenous peoples; and as a requirement for gender equality, for instance. Securing access to land often means transferring land rights, in other words reforming the agrarian structure. Land reform, thus, ends up being converted into an instrument to secure human rights. As usually in human rights discourse, responsibility is a key issue. In other words, one must determine what institution should conduct land reform. This essay tries to show that despite the fact that markets have somewhat been claiming for a more active intervention, the state is yet the most eligible institution to do it.