Law & Communities Program
For more information about CIEL's Law and Communities Program, contact Kristen Genovese.
About the Law & Communities Program
How We Work
CIEL’s Law and Communities (L&C) Program assists communities in defending their rights to land and natural resources. Working with partners around the world, CIEL provides direct support to communities by helping them access regional and international mechanisms to defend themselves. CIEL also advocates for international laws and policies that recognize community-based property rights, with a special focus on the right to free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC).
Resource-dependent, often indigenous, communities are disproportionately affected by development projects supported by governments and the private sector. The rights of these communities to determine whether and how their natural resources are developed--rights increasingly recognized by national and international law--are frequently ignored. Read more about the legal needs of rural communities.
Recourse to international mechanisms can complement and bolster national efforts to ensure respect for the rights of communities. CIEL, together with its colleagues, has supported the creation and strengthening of these mechanisms over the last twenty years.
There is a great need, however, to ensure that communities know these mechanisms exist and how to use them. The L&C Program is dedicated to supporting local communities in their use of these mechanisms to defend their rights to land and natural resources. For more information regarding current docket of L&C cases, view Our Current Work .
Kristen Genovese, Senior Attorney, is the Director of the the Law & Communities program.
The Law and Communities (L&C) Program was established in 1997 by Owen Lynch, a leader in the field of community-based property rights and community-based natural resource management. Under Lynch’s leadership from 1997 to 2007, the L&C Program supported the formation and strengthening of public interest environmental law organizations around the world, facilitated exchanges between Southern NGOs, and researched national legal frameworks that support community ownership and management of natural resources. Learn more about the accomplishments of the L&C Program.
To receive CIEL's monthy newletter, click here.
Latest Law & Communities Program News
- Urgent action! Ask the Nicaraguan government to approve and construct a life-saving dialysis clinic for former sugarcane workers suffering from chronic kidney disease.
- Groups Support Challenge to Dam Project in Panama for Violating Indigenous Rights
- UN Representative on Indigenous Peoples Asked to Investigate Human Rights Violations Caused by Panama's Barro Blanco Dam
- Ontario Securities Commission asked to Investigate Tahoe Resources After Wiretap Evidence Implicates Employees in Violence at Guatemala Mine
- Early Warning System Launched to Alert Communities to Investments that may Affect their Rights