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Changing customary land rights and gender relations in the context of HIV/AIDS in Africa1










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    Book (stand-alone)
    Children and women's rights to property and inheritance in Mozambique
    Elements for an effective intervention strategy
    2009
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    Women and childrens' insecure rights to property and inheritance in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa is not a new issue. The extended family support systems that used to function as social safety nets for widows and orphaned children have weakened as a consequence of societal changes such as economic development, migration and urbanization. This situation has clearly been exacerbated by the AIDS epidemic. Though prevalence is starting to level off, or even decline, in several high preva lence countries, this comes after years of increasing prevalence. In Mozambique, 2007 prevalence was 12.5 percent, an increase from 10.3 percent in 2001. Increasing mortality due to HIV leads to growing numbers of widows (and widowers) and orphans and can amplify the challenges women and children already face in securing their rights to property and inheritance. The main objective of this report is to propose possible entry points for interventions, key messages and activities to lay down the basis for a strategy to secure women and children’s rights to inheritance and property. Its intended audience are government institutions, national and international NGOs and communitybased organizations that could intervene in different areas of work, based on their specific mandates and capacities.
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    Vulnerability and Property Rights of Widows and Orphans in the Era of the HIV and AIDS Pandemic: A Case Study of Muleba and Makete Districts, Tanzania HIV/AIDS Programme, Working Paper 5 2008
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    Safeguarding property rights of vulnerable people is an important policy issue, not least in the quest for poverty reduction in poor societies. This issue has become urgent due to recent developments, including the AIDS epidemic, globalization, climate change and other similar social and natural forces. This study sets out to assess the extent to which property and inheritance rights of widows and orphans are violated or protected in the context of HIV and AIDS in two rural communities in Tanzania. The study takes into consideration two major interrelated aspects: the socio-economic system within which property rights systems are embedded and the constellations of legal pluralism which regulate property rights in Tanzania. While aiming at providing in-depth knowledge on the context and dynamics of the problem, the research goes further to explore the capacity of service providers to protect the property and inheritance rights of women and children.
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    Women’s land rights and agrarian change: Evidence from indigenous communities in Cambodia 2019
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    Current changes in land tenure in Cambodia are reshaping indigenous communities agrarian and socio-economic systems. Customary laws that have determined land usage and rights, are now undergoing profound transformations. The commodification of land, influenced by processes of dispossession and alienation, is reshaping communities’ norms and customs. Land, before freely available to users, is now substantially a private asset and as such transferred from one generation to the next one like other assets. Customary laws derive their legitimacy from social systems that are context specific and change with time. This determines their ambiguous character as instruments for resistance and self-determination as well as generators of unequal social relations in rural communities. The experiences from other continents and countries have shown the contradictory and often conflicting linkage between customary land rights and women’s rights to own land. This study analysis the customary inheritance system of indigenous groups in Northern Cambodia, prevalently centred around matrilineal or bilateral kinship, where women used to inherit and own the principal family assets. The research questions focus on indigenous women’s inheritance and property rights as they apply to land, in the context of increasing land commoditization and scarcity. The aim of the enquiry is to contribute to the understanding of the gender implications of these changes, by gaining insight about women’s position vis-à-vis land property, inheritance and transfer to new generations. The changes in land tenure that have occurred in Ratanakiri province during the last decades have resulted in a substantial alienation of land and resources formerly available to indigenous people. Consequently, the area farmed under shifting cultivation has significantly decreased and been replaced by permanent commercial crops, while the increasing monetization of communities’ economy has triggered new processes of social differentiation. Little support has been given to indigenous farmers in order to manage this transition and adapt their farming system while maintaining its sustainability. The legal instruments deriving from the Land Law, which in theory should have contributed to provide formal legal protecting to indigenous land and allow communities to continue using land according to their traditional tenure system were impaired by delays and the obstacles in the practical implementation of the law. External actors, institutional as well as non-governmental, have been actively promoting agricultural practices centred on rapid gains, unsustainable exploitation of land and forest, carpet introduction of monocultures without creating the conditions for the establishment of favourable value chains and market conditions. The changes that have taken place have important implications in terms of women’s role and status within communities: not only because of the farming system transition, but also as a consequence of the increasing influence of the mainstream culture, in which gender norms are more hierarchical and constrictive then the ones in use among the indigenous peoples targeted by this study. Following the evidence presented here, strengthening indigenous women land rights may result from a multipurpose approach that embraces different areas of interventions and actors, detailed in the recommendations provided.

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