Liberian Civil Society Cautions Women: Land Rights are also Women Rights

By Jos Garneo Cephas(Liberia Tourism Network)-The Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) is calling on Liberian women to develop keen interest in identifying their rights to land ownership in Liberia because Land Rights issues are also   women rights.

The OSIWA Country Officer, Madam Crayton addressing the women participants

The OSIWA Country Officer, Madam Crayton addressing the women participants

OSIWA’s Country Officer, Massa Crayton said: “Now is the time to let you know from communities to communities that the issues of Land Rights are also women rights because women are one of the proper owner of the land”.

She cautioned them to identify their rights, first as Liberian and then as human beings so as to use that rights and improve upon their children’s livelihood and economic conditions for peace living.

OSIWA is a foundation operating in ten countries in West Africa and dedicated to opening opportunities in enhancing good governance, economic conditions, human rights and health among others.

In Liberia, OSIWA is one of the major sponsors of education and awareness on land rights and ownership issues.

OSSIWA’s partnership with Liberian Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), including Rights and Rice Foundation (RRF) and Sustainable Development Institution(SDI) among others are   reaching out and engaging Liberians to identify their rights and to understand the importance of land issues.

Participants mostly women that attended the Land Rights discussionMadam Crayton made the statement at a Sub–national Consultation on Liberia’s Draft Land Rights Act for three counties, Grand Cape Mount, Garpolu and Bomi in Western Liberia on Thursday May 28, 2015 in Tubmanburg, Bomi.

There’s a new land Rights Act currently before the Legislature, pending passage into law.

The 38-page Draft Land Act, among other things, is not clear on direct access right to land for women.

Another widespread situation, ‘double sale of land by dealers’ which if addressed in the new Draft Land Act would continue to breed conflict.

Jennet O. Paye, Executive Director of Women Care Initiative (WCI), based in Bomi County, revealed at the discussion that there’s wide spread of illegal mining is taking place in Mambu Camp-2 close by at Sime Darby palm plantation, a foreign company.

A Chairman of ‘Zodua Land Committee’, based in Zodua Clan, Grand Cape Mount County, Boakai Kromah,said: “What government should do is to ensure a 30% land tenure benefit for the locals living in concession communities for farming purposes to guarantee food security for us because the foreign companies  engaged in large plantations are taking our land slowly”.

Some  of the women participants listening to speakers

Some of the women participants listening to speakers

The OSIWA Executive pointed out that: “Our people are still in conflict because they don’t know their rights; we must stop this,   will we remain in conflict with each other until foreigners take away our rights and our land?”

“There are so many laws in the country, we don’t know about these laws and how to use them to our advantage but many times people use them against our advantage, this is why there’s a need for Liberians to know what  goes into the Draft Land Rights Act before it becomes laws”, Madam  Craton said.

The implementing organization, Rights and Rice Foundation (RRF)’s Executive Director, James Yarsiah called on participants for positive contribution to enhance Liberia’s development. Representatives in attendance included the United Nations Mission In Liberia (UNMIL), traditional chiefs, women and youth organizations.