The Civil Society Working Group on Land Rights in Liberia, endorsed by the National Civil Society Council of Liberia is involved in an intense and persistent advocacy work to raise awareness around land reforms in the country as means for the public to demand the passage of the Land Rights Act (LRA).
As you may recall, in 2014 the President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf submitted to the National Legislature the first draft of the Land Rights Act. However, after two public hearings, and number of public consultations, the draft LRA has still not been passed into law and for the last three years now, the LRA remains in the legislature with limited public information on the status of the Act.
Addressing a news conference in Paynesville Monday, the group central program officer Hamilton B. Greeves noted that the CSO working group is increasingly concerned about the prolonged delay in the passage of the LRA because the law if enacted will give land rights to millions of Liberians through the customary land category.
The CSO working group has made several attempts to ascertain, without much success, as to what actions are being taken, including changes made to the draft LRA.
He indicated that the Act is one of the most progressive land laws in the continent of Africa and will provide an opportunity for Liberians to not only live on the land, but to also own the land, and reap the economic and social benefits of owning land.
“We call on the Liberian Senate and House of Representatives to pass the Land Rights Act. We are also urging the lawmakers to ensure that the core provisions of the LRA, which safeguards customary land rights and other provisions that guarantees rights to ownership by all Liberians regardless of class, gender and religion are fully protected and it remains central to the Act when passed”, he added.
Greeves revealed that over the next few weeks and months, the CSO working group, in collaboration with faith based organization (council of churches and the Muslim Council of Liberia), students and youth groups, and importantly, local communities across the country, will continue on its rigorous campaign to push for the passage of the 2014 version of the LRA, which protects customary land rights.
Accordingly, the group seeks to undertake the following activities: engage in media awareness throughout the country including radio programs, newspapers, and social media on the land rights act, in the ongoing debate on the passage on the LRA.
He further explained that they are working with the media to increase awareness and education to the general public including local leaders, community members among others in Monrovia and rural areas about the Land Rights Act, and how the public can participate in advocacy for the passage of the 2014 version of the LRA.
Greeves maintained that a roundtable conference will be held with lawmakers and influential national stakeholders on critical issues around the LRA.
By: R. Joyclyn Wea