Human rights principles form the foundation for the move towards responsible land administration. They are embedded in such international treatises as the Sustainable Development Goals, New Urban Agenda, and Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure, among others. These treatises provide the backdrop to the development of land policies and administration systems that seek to secure land tenure and land rights for all through adherence to human rights principles such as non-discrimination, equity and justice, gender responsiveness, transparency and accountability. Yet the human rights tradition is built on Western values and biases, and there is some contention as to the universal acceptance of this. In discussing land rights in Africa, assumptions about the universality of human rights should be weighed against such contentions if land reform programmes are to sustainably succeed. In this chapter, the arguments around human rights are presented in the context of African land reform, and a model of democratic land governance is proposed.
Part of the book: Human Rights in the Contemporary World
A nation’s constitution should be overtly pro-poor in its objectives. These should include how constitutional principles support land administration systems and their legal frameworks, their reform. Constitutions have, been long neglected. There is a need within developing nations to embed pro-poor objectives into land administration systems and their legal frameworks such that reforms meet the needs of the most vulnerable in society. Prior to reform of any system, understanding of that system is imperative. However, there is a lack of a context-specific frameworks to assess existing land administration systems in conjunction with constitutional law prior to a reform intervention. To develop a conceptual framework for the thorough evaluation of a country’s constitution in the context of Sub-Saharan Africa, secondary data and a text-based methodology were used. Sampling logic was applied to gather and analyse the data. A conceptual framework for accessing land administration systems and their legal frameworks, for use prior to land administration systems reform initiatives, is proposed in this chapter. To deliver pro-poor land administration systems and their legal frameworks, three fundamental constitutional tenets—human rights, the rule of law, and legal pluralism—were identified and inform the assessment of various country constitutions.
Part of the book: Human Rights in Contemporary Society