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‘Securing access and control over land vital for communities’

-says SiLNoRF National Coordinator

March 21, 2016 By Ibrahim Tarawallie

National Coordinator of Sierra Leone Network on Right to Food (SiLNoRF) has stated that securing access and control over land, water, forests, fisheries and seeds are vital for communities, and therefore must be respected and enforced as rights.

Mohamed Sorie Conteh told a presser last Tuesday at the conference room of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) that land and water are vital natural resources, adding that they should form part of conditions for the realisation of human rights, including the right to adequate food and nutrition and right to water and sanitation, among others.

“Land and water are common goods, not commodities. They must be secured, preserved and governed by each community for the common good of societies and the environment,” he said.

According to him, the appropriation of natural resources by companies, governments and elites, among others, with support from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and industrialised countries continues to worsen.

He claimed that in Sierra Leone the activities of transnational corporations have become increasingly harmful factors that reinforce existing unequal power structures at national and local levels, thus contributing to the further marginalisation of an already disadvantaged population groups such as women, youth and children.

Mr. Conteh revealed that his organization and fishermen and farmer-based organisations are joining their counterparts in West Africa to organise a regional caravan for a “convergence on land, water and seeds”.

The caravan, he said, was part of activities organised by civil society and farmer-based organisations in the region to raise awareness and mobilise the support of national governments and sub-regional bodies on issues of land, water and seeds.

“Simultaneously here in Sierra Leone, a caravan from the various regions in the country converged and processed through the streets of Freetown to the House of Parliament, where a book of convergence, including the collective demands was handed over to the Deputy Speaker of Parliament,” he said.

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