The conference on Legal Reform of Land Use in Darfur, held at the Carinthia Hotel in Khartoum on Thursday, recommended the amendment of all laws regulating the exploitation of land in Sudan’s conflict-torn western region.
The traditional and historical land rights of the people of Darfur must be taken into consideration, the participants emphasised.
They called for the completion of the draft land use map, legal regulation of the hawakeer (lands traditionally used by tribal communities), and the demarcation of agricultural projects, pastures, and grazing tracks. To prevent livestock from grazing on farms, corrals should be opened in all localities.
The conference, organised under auspices of the Minister of Federal Governance, Yousef El Dei, also pointed to the need to map the natural resources in the region. Furthermore, the Forests Act has to be activated, and new jurisdiction should prevent mining in forest areas and near water sources.
The participants also called for the introduction of “integrated solutions programmes” in all Darfur localities, capacity-building workshops for farmers and pastoralists, and microfinance institutions for small producers in the region.
The role of women and their rights to own land must be enhanced as well. They are to be involved in policy making and resolving land disputes, together with native administration leaders.
The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Federal Governance, Dr Hasan Nasreldin, in particular stressed the importance of benefiting from the expertise of native administration leaders for the legislation of the lands. He also recommended the activation of the role of ajaweed (traditional tribal mediators) in the resolution of disputes.
Last week, regional land conferences took place in Nyala in South Darfur, and El Fasher in North Darfur.
The recommendations of the Nyala conference, organised by the Darfur Land Commission in cooperation with the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), included a “realistic review” of land laws and procedures for registration of hawakeer, as well as the participation of women and native administration leaders in all mechanisms concerning land use.
The participants of the conference in El Fasher called for the opening of migration tracks for pastoralists and their herds, the provision of a joint military force to protect farmlands during agricultural seasons, and production opportunities for the poorest instead of direct support.
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