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15 Nov 2016

Olivier De Schutter, former UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, International Corporate Accountability Roundtable, Global Witness

Report finds corrupt land deals result in displacement & increased poverty; provides recommendations to prevent human rights harms

"Tainted Lands: Corruption in Large-Scale Land Deals," 15 Nov 2016

...In recent years, there has been an unprecedented rise in the sale and leasing of large areas of land, particularly in developing countries. The regions concerned are those where natural resources and land…is abundant; workforces are cheap; and access to global markets is relatively easy. The investors in these large-scale land leases or acquisitions…are local government and business elites, foreign investment funds, corporations, or governments...This report focuses on one major driver of the adverse human rights impacts of these increasing land investments—corruption. Corruption taints land deals…most notably when investors pay bribes to public officials in exchange for favorable land leases or acquisitions that violate the rights of local communities…Even in the absence of corruption, large-scale land investments may worsen rather than reduce rural poverty, encouraging forms of development that are neither environmentally nor socially sustainable. The Author and developers of this report advocate for investments in local communities and small holder farmers to be prioritized as the best means to achieve sustainable development…

[Also refers to Coca-Cola Company, Golden Veroleum, Hoang Anh Gia Lai, Independent Timbers and Stevedoring Limited, PepsiCo, Sein Wut Hmon, Sime Darby, and Vietnam Rubber Group.]