In the past 25 years, the Tigray regional government has been leasing unprecedented amount of land using its unjust land lease policy. The constitution of the Federal democratic republic of Ethiopia entrusts land ownership to the government, prohibiting citizens from owning and selling it. Although the federal and regional officials attempt to justify government’s unrestricted land administration as a commitment to protect the people from long term socio-economic vulnerability, the reality in the ground shows the government’s irresponsible action. Against the rhetoric of social protection, the government has been deeply involved in uncontrolled land deals selling thousands of hectares of land at an alarmingly high price more than an average Tigrean poor can afford. Citizens whose land is seized and sold by the government are getting no meaningful compensation to their loss. Loss of land for a Tigrean citizen causes far reaching problems ranging from lack of coping mechanism, interrupted livelihoods and general insecurity. Owing to this reason, many citizens have been forced to involve in illegal migration to overcome their daily bread. Besides, many families are being driven to the streets seeking for handouts and alms. The land deals in Tigray are miserably not affordable by the majority of Tigreans. Price comparisons in Tigray exceeds many folds to the prices of the same or better quality of land in New York, London or Paris. This reveals that the government’s stance to protect citizen’s livelihood and social security by prohibiting land deals has now been violated by the government itself and the people are forced to lead a miserable life as the result. More over, land has become a political instrument in Tigray and the land lease practice in the region is silencing public descent and the right to protect one self. In this situation, a handful beneficiaries, whose affiliation to government officials and dealers connected to them are frequently buying and selling the land with out restriction.
Due to this we, the people of Tigray call on the government;
1. To abolish the land lease policy all together, and secure the current holding rights of the people in rural and urban areas
2. To suspend any current land lease processes and insure the people’s right to own, transfer and inherit land based on internationally acceptable laws
3. To devise a proper strategy that enable the poor and youth generation enjoy equal right of owning land at a minimum ownership taxation.
4. To investigate the past history of land leases and held the handful individuals who have been manipulating the government machinery causing a hike on land prices
5. Identify the people, whose life has been pushed into crises by the lease policy and pay proper compensation in accordance to acceptable international laws
6. Restore our, green areas, traditional grazing, agricultural, recreational and cultural cites which has currently been threatened by the skewed land lease policy in to their original form
This petition will be delivered to:
- World Bank
- Prime Minister of Federal democratic republic government of Ethiopia
- President of the Governmnet of Tigray regional state, Ethiopia