Andrea Mulinda, Bujumba village farms two acres of cassava, sweet potatoes, bananas, yams and passion fruit. He has three children, plus grand children. Three generations of Andrea's family have worked and lived off the land. He has titles to the land and had been tempted to lease the land, however, after he found that the land would be sterile after producing palm he decided to continue farming for food. He wants to protect his land and pass it on to future generations.Photo: Friends of the Earth International

Communities around the world are struggling to defend their land rights as multinational corporations, private investors and governments seek to obtain large tracks of land. Land-grabbing is associated with serious human rights violations, including indigenous people’s rights, the right to food and the right to land.

SOMO supports communities in claiming and defending their land rights and their right to participate in decision-making processes around projects that could affect their land. We research the activities and policies of corporations and financiers involved in specific cases of large-scale land grabs.

We support partners in advocating locally, nationally and regionally for changes in government and company policies and practices, as well as policies of multi-stakeholder initiatives. Securing full implementation of the international legal principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) is a key objective.

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the bigger picture

Natural Resources

Many of the world’s poorest countries are rich in natural resources. In the absence of democratic control, these resources are being recklessly exploited, destroying local communities and ecosystems, threatening the health of the planet and contributing to the widening gap between rich and poor.

Research and awareness-raising

SOMO investigates companies and their investors in the agribusiness, energy and extractives sectors with a close eye on the complex web that link these sectors to each other and to numerous social and environmental problems, including human rights violations and armed conflict.

In collaboration with partners, we investigate the activities and policies of corporations and financiers involved in large-scale land grabs and destructive agribusiness, extractives, energy and infrastructure projects. We pay particular attention to the conduct of multinational corporations in conflict-affected areas, raising awareness on their role and responsibilities and pushing them to act responsibly and in a conflict-sensitive way.

Democratic control over natural resources

SOMO advocates transparent and democratic control over natural resources which contributes to more sustainable and people-centred resource use. SOMO supports local communities in claiming and defending human rights, including the right to make decisions about projects affecting their land, known as Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC).
Our research builds the case for a transition towards more democratic systems of energy provision based on sustainable use of natural resources.

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