Author/Editor(s): Alfred Buregeya, Marguerite Garling, Jill Craig, Barbara Harrell-Bond (eds)
Despite advances in human rights around the world, discrimination persists in the customary laws that regulate women's status in most traditional societies. This publication points in particular to the challenge of addressing inequalities that women face in land and inheritance rights. In the wake of conflict and its attendant social disruptions, women have routinely been denied the right to inherit land and property from their husbands and fathers. Despite having lived and worked on family land throughout their lives, many have been evicted by male relatives who became the new owners.
The Inter-Regional Consultation on Women's Land and Property Rights in Situations of Conflict and Reconstruction, held in February 1998, brought together women from across Africa, South and Central America, the Balkans, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region to compare notes and exchange experiences. Striking similarities became apparent, despite the wide variety of contexts from which their experiences were drawn.
The case histories and testimonies presented at the consultation, and recorded in this publication, point to the challenges of addressing inequalities that women face in land and inheritance rights during periods of post-conflict reconstruction. But the report also presents us with many encouraging examples of success, including community development initiatives that work directly with women to solve local problems. Above all, it underscores the vital importance of building sound institutions and equitable laws that can provide a dynamic and sustainable framework for men and women to work together to rebuild their lives and livelihoods.