International petition to save the malagasy farmers and local communities against new threats to their lands
The platform SIF and Collective TANY call on the Malagasy public opinion and all citizens worldwide to sign a petition to urge the Malagasy authorities to adopt laws which secure the farmers and local communities rights on their lands.
Nearly 22 months after the presidential and legislative elections that followed the five-year transition period of time, the government is about to present a Letter of Land Policy and different laws to the National Assembly.
The first change in Madagascar land policy regarding the colonization heritage was the Land Policy Reform of 2005 characterized by the land management decentralization and the rights recognition of untitled private property occupants. In 2015, the objective is to determine phase 2 of the Land Policy Reform that the government committed to “consolidate” at the time of the discussion launching in May 2014. A Land Policy Letter was approved by the Government Council on 26 May 2015, resulting from workshops in different main cities, proposals from civil society organizations, mayors, several actors and from a National Land Forum in Antananarivo. But some points linked to the land management by municipalities raised a strong opposition and a general strike of the domains technicians’ Unions. Then without any consultation of the civil society, the government published a New Land Policy Letter that the Council of Ministers approved on 5 August 2015.
On another hand, the mining Code of 2005 is being reviewed since more than a year. Several bodies demanded that the mining permits delivery suspension will be maintained until the new mining code finalization. The Bishops conference raised questions to the country leaders about the Conceptual Committee way of working and declared their opposition to the International Forum of Madagascar Mining and Petroleum. The Collective TANY denounced several articles of the revised mining code bill that endanger the rights of peasants and local communities on their land.
However, the International Forum was held on 23-25 September while the mining code review is going on. And media publishes that transformation of exploration permits into exploitation licenses, renewal of expired licenses and even issuance of hundreds of new ones are in process. The current mining Code authorizes the assignment of a maximum area of 10 000 km2 for a mining company. Under these conditions, 60 licenses of such a surface would be sufficient to cover the entire territory, leaving no more place for any other activity such as local agriculture.
The country leaders tend to organize and legalize measures of peasants and local communities expropriation and evictions from their lands for the national and abroad investors needs : without informing the citizens about it, the Council of Ministers adopted a bill on the Public Private Partnership (PPP) which article 37 proposes the use by the State of the “declaration of public utility” to expropriate the land owners and evict the land occupants who refuse to giving up land necessary for the implementation of the PPP contract.
During this time, due to the 2008 Investment Code, foreign companies still have the option to buy land through a Malagasy partner or nominee. Civil society organizations are calling for the annulment of that provision since several years.
For all these reasons, at this time when the next National Assembly session is about to take place, and the day before the Madagascar’s donors meeting in Lima, Peru scheduled on the 7th October, the platform SIF and Collective TANY call on the Malagasy public opinion and all citizens worldwide to sign a petition to urge the Malagasy authorities to adopt laws which secure the farmers and local communities rights on their lands, excluding any expropriation and eviction, and to revise any bill and law in force that don’t conform to it, according to a process including in all stages civil society and all citizens in the debates and choices”