n African Human Rights Law Journal - Land-grabbing and the right to adequate food in Ethiopia

Volume 19 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1609-073X
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2096



The post-2008 global land rush was mainly targeted at Africa. With its weak system of governance and abundant arable land and water resources, Ethiopia has been and remains one of the hotspots for land-grabbing in Africa. Land-grabbing has various negative consequences for the human rights of rural communities. Due to the link between food security and land-grabbing, the right to adequate food is the human right most affected. The right to adequate food requires states to refrain from depriving people of access to natural resources that they use to feed themselves; this includes land and water. Although the right to food is progressively realised, the duty not to take retrogressive measures is immediate. As the custodian of the land under the 1995 Constitution the Ethiopian government has since directly concluded deals with investors, displaced communities, and given away land previously used by Ethiopian farmers to the new foreign lessees. Since land-grabbing mainly affects the agrarian rural community, the article analyses the phenomenon of land-grabbing against the type of agriculture practised in Ethiopia, climate change and coping mechanisms of communities, and the livelihood of pastoralists and indigenous people. It demonstrates how land-grabbing is antithetical to the right to adequate food in the context of Ethiopia.

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