The International Federation of Human Rights (fidh) has carried out a critical piece of research into the increasing threats facing land rights activists in less developed countries. The research looks at the increasing plight of community groups, lawyers, journalists and NGOs working to protect their rights to land under international law. In the context of rising global food prices and large scale agricultural projects in developing countries, the demand for land has seen a rise in land grabs and other serious lands rights violations across the globe, but equally in Commonwealth countries. The report draws particular attention to the role of investment treaty protection in Zimbabwe and South Africa, where investors have been able to challenge State initiatives that would otherwise protect local access to land. As such, international bodies such as the Commonwealth must do more to ensure development, trade and investment policies respect and protect the human rights of local land users.
The report also notes that in Canada, anti-terrorism laws have the potential to be used against domestic defenders of Aboriginal rights. Canada remains the only UN member to have rejected a recent draft outcome document on indigenous rights at the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples 2014, and remains committed to a project of economic growth fueled by forestry, mining and gas.