Women’s Land and Property Rights

SALC’s Women’s Land and Property Rights programme has the following objectives:

  • Developing jurisprudence through cases challenging discrimination in areas of inheritance; sharing and distribution of matrimonial property; legal capacity of married women; and chieftainship.
  • Challenging the denial of women’s right to participate in decision-making on acquisition of land resources and developmental programmes affecting rural land and resources.
  • Highlighting the particular impact of forced evictions and mining pollution on women.

On-going cases:

African Commission on Human and People’s Rights/Lesotho: Case on women’s right to chieftainship in Lesotho.
Malawi: Challenging uncompensated disturbances, damages, loss and suffering due to extensive to extensive mining and prospecting operations
Swaziland: Case challenging common law marital power
Swaziland: A challenge to the customary principle of male primogeniture
Zambia: Preventing the displacement of rural women from their customary land
Zambia: Case challenging forced eviction of communities living on customary due to infrastructure development 
Zambia: Long-term rural residents declared squatters and ordered to vacate the land without fair compensation
Zambia: Challenging the taking over of customary land and allocation to commercial farmers and the destruction of property and contamination of the environment without consent or compensation

Precedent cases:

Botswana: Case challenging constitutionality of customary law rule which provides for male inheritance of family home
Malawi: Case challenging property grabbing of widow’s land
Zimbabwe: Case challenging decision of Master to award widow a child’s share of farm acquired by couple

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