Large-scale land acquisitions and human rights in the developing world


Chancellor Day Hall Stephen Scott Seminar Room (OCDH 16), 3644 rue Peel, Montreal, QC, H3A 1W9, CA

Join us for this conference held to mark Human Rights Day

Center for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism’s O’Brien Fellow in Residence Dr. Semahagn G. Abebe and Visiting Fellow Dr. Christophe Golay will discuss the various human rights implications of large-scale land acquisitions – also called land grabbing – in the global south, with a focus on Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.

Devlin Kuyek from the non-governmental organization (NGO) GRAIN, and Ester Wolf who worked for the NGO Bread for All will bring a civil society perspective to the discussion. Dr Nandini Ramanujam will act as moderator.

About the speakers

Dr. Semahagn G. Abebe is O’Brien Fellow in Residence at the CHRLP. He comes to McGill through the Scholars at Risk Network. He received his LLM degree in International Economic Law and Human Rights Law from the University of Amsterdam and studied Masters (LLM) and Doctorate Degree (PhD) at the University of Goettingen.  His PhD work focused on federalism and the accommodation of linguistic diversity in the context of the Ethiopian ethnic federal system that has been adopted since 1995. He published several articles, including The Need to Alleviate the Human Rights Implications of Large-scale Land Acquisitions in Sub-Saharan Africa (2012). His book The Last Post Cold-War Socialist Federation: Ethnicity, Ideology and Democracy in Ethiopia will be published by Ashgate Publishers in February 2014.

Dr. Christophe Golay is Visiting Fellow at CHRLP. He has been the Coordinator of the Project on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights since 2008. From 2001 to 2008, he was Legal Adviser to the first UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food. He undertook missions with the United Nations in many countries, including Brazil, Guatemala, Bolivia, Cuba, Niger, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, India and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Since 2011, he is coordinating a research project on the impact of land grab on the right to food in Cambodia and Laos. He is the author of books and articles, including Human Rights Responses to Land Grabbing : A Right to Food Perspective (2013), The Fight for the Right to Food. Lessons Learned (2011), and Droit à l’alimentation et accès à la justice (2011).

Devlin Kuyek joined GRAIN in 2003, after working with NGOs and peasant organizations in Malaysia and the Philippines. He is GRAIN's most active researcher, focusing on monitoring and analysing global agribusiness, including the global land rush. Devlin is based in Montreal, Canada, and spends time supporting partners and staff in the regions as much as possible.

Ester Wolf was Policy Advisor on the Right to Food for Bread for All (Switzerland) and member of the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance Board of Directors from 2008 to September 2013. She supported the work of peasant organizations resisting land grabbing in Africa and Latin America, and organized workshops on land grabbing in Western and Central Africa.

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