The Human Right to Land: ‘New Right’ or ‘Old Wine in a New Bottle’?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Access to land and natural resources is a fundamental issue for many people across the globe and should be included in international human rights law. With increased change to the planet’s climate, increasing investment in agribusiness, high demands for food and increasing populations, the demand for land is reaching breaking point. On top of these factors, the dominant market economy increasingly sees land as an important portfolio for investment, leading to what has been labelled ‘land grabbing’ across the globe. All these factors are analysed widely in the literature. What this commentary wishes to do is to ask whether the human right to land is ‘new’ or whether it is only the reinterpretation of other existing rights. To do so it will focus on three main questions. Why was the right to land not included as a stand- alone human rights norm (Section 7.2)? Should the human right to land become a stand- alone right or continue to be expressed via the realisation of other human rights such as housing and food (Section 7.3)? Should it be labelled as a ‘human right to land’ or as ‘land rights’ (Section 7.4)?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Handbook of New Human Rights
Subtitle of host publicationRecognition, Novelty, Rhetoric
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
ISBN (Print)978- 1- 108- 48473- 2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020

Cite this