Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Just Future

Which key factors contribute to effective land justice pathways for the protection of people’s land rights and prevention of conflict?

2020 - 2025
Carolien Jacobs
Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Just Future Alliance partners

Leiden University Law School is taking part in the Just Future Programme, a 5-year consortium of various partners from the Global North and South, supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which aims at promoting more inclusive, constructive and legitimate power relations for justice seekers in Afghanistan, Burundi, DRC, South Sudan, Mali, and Niger.

During the first two years of the programme, professor Janine Ubink and Dr. Bernardo Almeida, in collaboration with local organizations, conducted studies on land justice interventions in South Sudan. Their goal was to enhance knowledge about effective land justice pathways for protecting people’s land rights and preventing conflict. In addition to its local impact, this research aimed to highlight the connection between land and conflict as a driver of injustice and conflict relevant to SDG16+.

From 2023, the VVI contribution to the Just Future alliance consists of research in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in close collaboration with a team of Congolese researchers of The Social Science Center for African Development KUTAFITI. The research is coordinated by Dr. Carolien Jacobs. In 2023, the team looked into the lawmaking process of the livestock law. This law is supposed to better regulate the livestock sector and as such to reduce conflicts and tensions between farmers and pastoralists. The research explored the lawmaking process to assess the extent at which the law will be accepted by the population. Secondly, the team looked into the social contract between citizens and the Congolese state, by exploring legal identity and issues around registration and identification of citizens, especially in relation to major life events such as births, marriages and deaths, but also in relation to the elections that took place in December 2023. In the absence of formal identity cards, the electoral card serves as an official proof of identity. People were therefore highly motivated to register for the elections.

For 2024, the research in the DRC focuses on access to justice for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in camps and rural settings in the east of the DRC. In addition, we will look into the functioning of various alternative dispute resolution mechanisms and the way in which these mechanisms facilitate access to justice for particular vulnerable groups (including IDPs again, but also women, handicapped or marginalized groups).


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