The Right to Land and Territory: New Human Right and Collective Action Frame

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Resistance against the appropriation of nature, especially land, has
been one of the key struggles of the transnational agrarian movement La Via
Campesina (LVC) since its inception in 1993. The issue of access to land
has become even more central after the food crisis of 2007-08, in a context
increasingly marked by land grabbing and climate change. This contribution
offers a critical examination of the emergence of the « right to land and
territory », both as a collective action frame deployed by transnational
peasant movements, and as a new human right in international law. It
explores the various ways in which agrarian movements are using the
human rights framework to question the establishment of absolute private
property rights over land, and restore political limits on access to land. It
argues that peasant movements are claiming a new human right to land
through a combination of institutional and extra-institutional channels, in an
effort not only to achieve increased protection of peasants’ land rights
(against and by the state), but also to advance an alternative conception of
human rights that resonates with their worldviews, and allows for the
development of food sovereignty alternatives, including outside the state.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-137
JournalRevue internationale d’études juridiques
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • framing
  • peasant movements
  • Food sovereignty
  • land
  • territory
  • human rights

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