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Land Rights: A Step Forward to Empowering Women Mukesh Kumar Khatwani, Programme Advisor, Indus Future Foundation

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Presentation on theme: "Land Rights: A Step Forward to Empowering Women Mukesh Kumar Khatwani, Programme Advisor, Indus Future Foundation"— Presentation transcript:

1 Land Rights: A Step Forward to Empowering Women Mukesh Kumar Khatwani, Programme Advisor, Indus Future Foundation

2 Land Reforms in Pakistan A Tenancy Legislation Committee was formed in 1943 to make recommendations for improving the conditions of haaris (landless tenants) in sub-continent.The work of this committee was interrupted by the Second World War. In 1947 a Hari Enquiry Committee was formed and its recommendations were published in 1949, and the early 1950s saw a number of provincial tenancy regulation laws. Debate started on land reform among political and policy circles around 1945 culminated in the West Pakistan Land Reform Regulation in February 1959”. In March 1972, the Z. A. Bhutto government announced further land reform measures, which went into effect in 1973. The landownership ceiling was lowered to about five hectares of irrigated land and about twelve hectares of non-irrigated land. The ceiling could also be extended for poor-quality land. Official statistics showed that by 1977 only about 520,000 hectares had been surrendered, and nearly 285,000 hectares had been redistributed among about 71,000 farmers. In 2008 Sindh Government distributed 2.1 million acres land among landless haris (farmers), preferably women tenants in almost all the districts of Sindh, under a land grant policy. The Government also provided support to cultivate 4 acres of land, who received land under land grant policy.

3 Land grant policy Whatever and wherever Sindh Government’s land is available in the barrage areas will be distributed among the land-less Haris. Water will be saved by different methods to be diverted to non-barrage area; and also water storages in Manchar and hamal and such lands will be distributed among land less Haris, of that area. Land which has gone out of cultivation in barrage area and is considered waste and un-culturable now will be developed and distributed among land less Haris.. Riverain area will be developed by tube-wells, but tube-wells are un-economical to develop forests and wherever forests have dwindled due to non availability of flood waters, the land will be leased out to land less Haris to start with for 30 years. Un-surveyed government lands suitable for cultivation will be developed wherever water is available and given to local land less people. Agricultural land will be safe guarded from being turned into urban residential and industrial areas and these requirements will be met by making use of waste land..

4 Women property rights: Constitution of Pakistan and international declarations The constitution of Pakistan also ensures all citizens can own property. Islamic Law, Shariah, stipulates that women be accorded share in inheritance, albeit lower than that of male heirs Article 17 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, “Everyone has the right to own property alone, as well as in association with others. No one shall arbitrarily be deprived of property.” Article 14 of CEDAW protects the rights of rural women to equal treatment in land and agrarian reform as well as in land resettlement schemes. The International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights, in Article 11 guarantees women to equal access to economic resources, including the right to inheritance and the ownership of land and other property. The International Covenant of Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination, under Article 5, requires State Parties to guarantee the right of everyone, to equality before law, notably in the enjoyment of the right to own property alone as well as in association with others, and the right to inherit.

5 Relationship b/w women’s status and Land Land is one of the important factor in determining the status of a person in rural areas of Pakistan particularly in province of Sindh. women are given land as part of huq mehr (dower) for a variety of reasons including to honor the girl and her family. In Sindh, the landless peasants are willing to accord women some direct relationship with land, but specifically in the upper classes, it is assumed that women has no direct relationship with land, and that it is mediated by men. Men needed to do important tasks related to land, and that even if women had ownership of land, they would be paralyzed without male involvement and support. In Sindh and Balochistan, farmers of varying scales pointed out that fewer women worked on fields than earlier because as a direct result of economic upward mobility, women were no longer needed to work on land, and men could afford to provide for them. (SDPI (2008) Women Land Rights)

6 Women land Ownership: Ground Realities A majority of women know that women have a right to land, however Sharia is not observed with regard to women’s land rights because of cultural bariers. women do not claim their right to land out of the fear of antagonizing their family, which in most cases is their only support or safety net. land claim by a woman is perceived as a source of discord within families, inviting hostility from the husband’s family or brothers and other male members on the father’s side. women are compensated for the lack of land rights through dowry Decisions related to girls’ marriages are primarily dictated by the concerns about land ownership and inheritance Even women own land but its control and management is widely perceived to fall in the purview of men In 2008 Sindh Government granted land amongst rural women to make them empowered, but is observed that its control and management fall in the purview of men because of cultural and other factors.

7 Recommendations There is no doubt about the significance of the intervention of government for land redistribution., however; there is a need to ensure that these redistributive laws and policies target the poor population and are gender sensitive. Once pro-poor and gender-balanced policies are in place, there is a need for effective implementation The government should provide training/awareness opportunities and infrastructure support to facilitate women to control and manage land on their own. Women should be provided extension services such as loans, credits, fertilizers, seeds etc. The government should institute social protection systems for women and the existing legal institutions should be reformed for better accessibility and affordability,.

8 Thanking you very much

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