Indigenous Peoples Indonesia International Law

A Critical Look on the Negotiation of the Right to Food

An article written based on my most recent research project has finally been published in Human Rights Review.  The article examines how non-governmental actors invoke human rights and what are the impacts thereof. It is published as open access online, the printed version will appear in June 2015.


The norms and ideals of human rights are increasingly invoked by civil society organisations to construct claims related to land tenure and access to food, particularly to challenge a massive expansion of agricultural investment in a developing country. While this has facilitated negotiations on rights and the formulation of claims, studies that investigate to what extent such endeavours achieve the transformational goals advocated by human rights proponents or in particular whether they have been successful in instigating any institutional reform in the governance of massive agricultural modernisation projects are scanty. After discussing a national agricultural modernisation project, the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE), set up in Merauke, Papua, the article concludes that the analysis of the transformative role of human rights requires a prudent examination of the role of the State in the negotiation process, the patterns of socio-cultural interactions signifying the political setting and the pressure experienced and perceived by actors that affect the issues selected and omitted.

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