Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Federal Rural Land Administration Proclamation No. 89/1997



WHEREAS, as a result of the bitter struggle waged by the Nationals, Nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia, it is confirmed in the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia that the right to ownership of land is exclusively vested in the State and in the People;

WHEREAS, Article 52(2)(d) of the Constitution provides that Regional governments are empowered to administer land and other natural resources in accordance with Federal laws;

WHEREAS, the implementation of said provision calls for the promulgation of a rural land administration law that is of a general scope and consequent identical application to all Regions;

NOW, THEREFORE, in accordance with Articles 55(1) of the Constitution, it is hereby proclaimed as follows:


1.    Short Title
This Proclamation may be cited as the “Federal Rural Land Administration Proclamation No. 89/1997.”

2.    Definitions
Unless the context otherwise requires, in this Proclamation:
1)    “Region” means a Region specified, under Article 47 of the Constitution, as a member of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and includes the Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa Administrations;
2)    “rural land” means all land outside the boundaries of a municipality or outside an area which the respective Regional Council, in consultation with the appropriate body, designates as a town;
3)    “holding right” means the right and peasant shall have to use rural land for agricultural purposes as well as to lease and, while the right remains in effect, bequeath it to his family member; and includes the right to acquire property thereon, by his labour or capital, and to sell, exchange and bequeath same;
4)    “distribution of holdings” means a rural land allocation measure taken at intervals, upon decision of the community, with a view to assigning holding rights in a fair and proportionate manner as well as to demarcating land for communal use by peasants;
5)    “family member” means anyone permanently living with a person having holding rights, by way of sharing the means of livelihood of the latter;
6)    “land administration” means the assignment of holding right and the execution of distribution of holdings.

3.    General Reference
The provisions of this Proclamation set out in the masculine gender shall also apply to the feminine gender.

General Provisions of Land Administration

4.    Principle
Land is a common property of the Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia shall not be subject to sale or to other means of exchange.

5.    Conditions of land Administration
1)    Any Region shall administer rural land in accordance with the general provisions of this Proclamation.
2)    For purposes of implementation of the provisions of sub-Article (1) of this Article, each Regional Council shall enact a law on land administration.
3)    The land administration law of a Region shall be in conformity with the provisions of laws on environmental protection and shall observe the Federal land utilization policies.
4)    The land administration law of a Region shall confirm the equal rights of women in respect of the use, administration and control of land as well as in respect of transferring and bequeathing holding rights.

6.    Contents of a Land Administration Law
A land administration law enacted by each regional Council, shall:
1)    ensure free assignment of holding rights both to peasants and nomads, without differentiation of the sexes; as well as secure against eviction and displacement from holdings on any grounds other than total or partial distribution of holdings effected pursuant to decision by the Regional Council,
2)    assign holding rights sufficient for subsistence, both to peasants and nomads, subject to the particular conditions of the locality;
3)    allow women to use hired labour on their holdings or to, otherwise, make agreements thereto;
4)    permit the right referred to under sub-Article (3) of this Article, to orphans not having attained majority, the physically weak and to similar others;
5)    fix criteria, such as family responsibility and formation of a new marriage, for qualification to a holding right; as well as set out standards, in a descending order of priority based on family-size and such other objective factors of assessment of land demand, for  determination of the extent to which holding rights would be assigned;
6)    provide that demarcation of land for house-building, grazing, forests, social services and such other communal use shall be carried out in accordance with the particular conditions of the locality and through communal participation;
7)    with respect to former holders of lawful standing and where distribution of holdings is effected, allow for an opportunity to retain, to the extent the distribution would permit, portions of the land they have been improving upon their labour or capital;
8)    where a holding right changes hands under distribution of holdings, ensure payment of due compensation, by the new holder, to a previous and lawful holder for improvements he had made on the land by his labour or capital;
9)    where a holding right changes hands under distribution of holdings or terminate on various grounds, guarantee the right to remove permanent work builts, or tree-crops cultivated, on the land or to claim payment of compensation thereon or collection of the fruits thereof;
10)    lay down a system based upon transparency, fairness as well as the participation of peasants, especially of women, for purposes of assigning holding rights and carrying out distribution of holdings;
11)    provide for a grievance procedure on matters pertaining to holding rights and distribution of holdings;
12)    provide for a grievance procedure on matters pertaining to holding rights and distribution of holdings;
13)    make provisions, not inconsistent with this Proclamation, for other general or particular matters as found necessary under the peculiar circumstances of the locality;

Miscellaneous Provisions

7.    Payments on Rural Land Holdings
1)    Persuant to the provisions of sub-Articles (2) and (10) of Article 97 of the constitution, Regional Governments shall determine the rate of, and collect, land-use-fees and royalties on the use of forest resources.
2)    In fixing rates under sub-Article (1) of this Article, Regional Councils shall ensure the proportionality thereof.

8.    Applicability of Land Administration Laws of Regions
A land administration law heretofore enacted by any Regional Council shall be applicable insofar as it is not inconsistent with this Proclamation.

9.    Relation with Other Laws
Any previous laws inconsistent with this Proclamation shall not be applicable with respect to matters provided for in this Proclamation.

10.    Effective Date

This Proclamation shall enter into force as of the 7th day of July, 1997.
Done at Addis Ababa, this 7th day of July, 1997.


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