COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT ON ACCESS RIGHTS AND CONTROL OF LAND MANAGEMENT IN UNITY STATE
By staff writer,
PIDO had conducted the numerous activities of which the executive Director of the Organization was contacted through phone to explain what are the activities conducted and how and why it has been importance for People’ Initiative Development organization to initiate such activities at this time. So, Mr. Kerubino Pow, the Executive Director stated that the activities that are organized included but are not limited to “three influential meetings with local authorities to adopt and implement land policy at the state level to ensure better protection of the communities’ land rights and reduce malpractices in land management”
He explained that the Influential meetings conducted between 26th and 28th April 2021 had created thorough awareness of the local authorities and community members on access to land rights and control in land management and it reduced vulnerability of the citizens. Mr. Kerubino said that the attendees of three influential meeting were 80 people, 35 females and 45 males from the following concern institutionssuch as Ministry of physical Infrastructure and urban planning, State Legislative Assembly, Land commission, community members and others who debated the land Act key provision and land draft policy which was passed by the majority for enabling the protection and securing the access rights to land and ensure the ownership and permanent settlement in Unity State – Bentiu and Rubkona.Executive Director Kerubino Pow told the contactor that Refresher training for the land rights paralegals for three days on land act 2009 key provision and human rights principles to empower and help the new and old paralegals in resolving land disputeswas conducted in Rubkona and Bentiu on the 1st May to 3rd May 2021”. He stated that the training was attended by 50 people, 35 males and 15 females who extensively discussed the community members’ participation in decision making and action of defending and protecting their land rights and speeding up in resolving any contradictory hands to the Access and control to land management. He continued explaining that the training increased and strengthened the understanding of the land rights paralegals of how to negotiate and mediate any land disputes and set forth amicable resolution without courting the case.
Mr. Kerubino stressed that even a Legal Assistance provided to vulnerable individual citizens through court and outside court mediation for the community members to enable them to defend their land right which might have been threatened and was conducted on 3rd to 6th May 2021 in Mayom and Bentiu to help the land rights paralegals to ensure that vulnerable persons keep their land rights through documentations as to reduce threat of land grabbing and force occupation as well as random selling of other people’s land in their absence. Thus he said that the attendees of provision of legal assistance were 15 people, 7 males and 8 females from land rights paralegals who devoted their time and energy to help the community members on resolving any cases of land disputes in the Unity State – Bentiu. He explained that eight  cases of force occupation, land grabbing were resolved outside the legal court by the help of the trained land rights paralegals in Bentiu and Mayom.
Thus, Mr. Pow concluded that PIDOshall continue to work with the communities on access rights to land awareness to create conducive and peaceful environment for the people of the state to live together. PIDO, through the funding from NPA will continuously engage the local authorities to implement land policies that guarantee the citizens land rights and the rights of owning the properties.