The Land Commission was initially established two years ago (August 2009) but it was launched in March 2010 and only started functioning later in 2010. It is developing a land tenure policy that will include forest tenure, which it aims to make available in early 2012.
Issues related to land are complicated by the legacy of evolving laws associated with successive governments since the country gained independence in 1847. The current Public Land Law treats ‘unoccupied’ land as public land while the Community Rights Law treats land owned by individuals and groups through longstanding rules recognized by the community as private land, whether or not the individual or group has a deed. The situation regarding ‘forest tenure’ is unclear. The 2010 annual report of the Land Commission hosted on its official website notes that “there is unclear relationship between statutory and customary laws related to land. There are tensions between claims of state ownership of land and natural resources and claims of customary ownership of land long utilized by traditional communities”.
In its first year of operation the Land Commission documented over 100 land disputes cases in circuit and magisterial courts in five counties including Bomi, Montserrado, Margibi, Nimba and Lofa.
The Land Commission had the following targets for 2011:
1. Completion of interim land policies (urban policy, public land policy, concessions, disputes, etc)
2. Completion of interim land laws (public land law, property law, adjudication, etc)
3. Start national land use mapping/planning
While these activities were ongoing in 2011, the Land Commission was at the same time lobbying the Executive to place a moratorium on concession allocation in order to avoid compounding the problem.
|Source||www.lc.gov.lr, Annual report for 2010 available on http://www.lc.gov.lr/doc/AnnuaReport2010.pdf|