Lecture by Gemma van der Haar on Thursday 30 January
Right now peace negotiations are being held in Cuba to put an end to more than five decades violent conflict in Colombia. What began as a farmers’ protest against inequality has evolved into a dirty war between the FARC guerrilla, paramilitary organisations, large landowners, drugs mafia, the army and various levels of government authorities. The result: waves of refugees and thousands of victims on all sides. One of the main issues which has fuelled this conflict is legal access to land. How has this worked? What interests are at stake and how will they effect a possible peace and Colombia's stability in the future?
How does violent conflict impact who controls land? As people flee violence, their land may be occupied by others. Competing claims arise as warring parties make territorial claims and redefine land control. Gemma van der Haar - WUR, Assistant Professor Sociology of Development and Change, specialised in land governance in conflict and post-conflict settings - discusses why land matters for resolving conflict. From land access, use, and control to ownership issues in contexts of conflict, she will explore how land grabbing works in the height of chaos. What does this mean for the transition to peace? Find out in the case of Colombia, what conflict has done to land and what it means for stability in the future.