Asia: Covid-19 lock-downs leading to land grabbing & attacks to indigenous communities & farmers

Author: Rina Chandran, The Jakarta Post, Published on: 19 May 2020

"Land conflicts flare across Asia during coronavirus lockdowns", May 15, 2020

Lockdowns to contain the novel coronavirus in Asia have made farmers and indigenous people more vulnerable to losing their land, according to land rights activists who are backing new technologies to help track the growing number of conflicts… Worldwide, farmers have been unable to tend to their fields, and some indigenous people kept from forests because of restrictions on movement, making it easier for illegal loggers and companies to encroach their lands… In Indonesia, two farmers were killed in March in clashes over a long-standing land dispute with a palm oil firm in South Sumatra province, according to the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), an environmental group. In the Philippines, five farmers were killed in Sorsogon province to the south of Manila earlier this month in a territory dispute, according to human rights group Karapatan… In India, authorities have relaxed environmental norms for mining and industrial projects, with the lockdown making it impossible for people "even to resist" the threats to their land, said Tushar Dash, an Indian forest rights campaigner. Elsewhere in the region, with police and security forces engaged in enforcing lockdowns, cases of illegal logging have been reported in Nepal, Myanmar, Cambodia and Indonesia.

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