Land Control, Authority and Political Economy, and a Planned Petroleum Infrastructure Project in Timor-Leste

  • Alex Grainger

Abstract

Land in Timor-Leste had been a subject of national importance even before the government first announced a planned petroleum infrastructure ‘mega-project’ in 2009, the ‘Tasi Mane’ project, on the country’s south coast in Suai, Betano and Beaco. This project has brought again into sharp relief the question of land and its control. Much recent work has focussed on ‘land grabs’ or how foreign capital and the state have played a significant role in dispossessing smallholders of arable land in other settings. This paper highlights three aspects which are inherent in the process of control. First, authority lies at the heart of land control alongside political-economic factors that lead to relocation of residents from land in project areas. Second, problems of recognition of land rights in project areas have led to more strident claims to authority locally. This issue I demonstrate by showing the historical legacy of two communities that occupy Beaco land. Third, the case study of the two communities sheds light on the social relations inherent in local property relations and subsequent disputes catalysed by contests over land control.

References

Almeida, B. ‘Navigating Without a Compass: state transition in Timor-Leste’s formal land tenure system’ in Viegas, S.M. & Feijó, R.G., (eds.) Transformations in Independent Timor-Leste. Dynamics of Social and Cultural Cohabitations Routledge, 2017.

Babo-Soares, D. ‘The challenges of establishing a land tenure regime in a newly independent state’ in Viegas, S.M. & Feijó, R.G., (eds.) Transformations in Independent Timor-Leste. Dynamics of Social and Cultural Cohabitations Routledge, 2017

Bangkok Post, ‘Myanmar Advances’ 3rd October 2016

Batterbury, S, Palmer, L.R., Reuter, T.R., de Carvalho, D. do A. Kehi, B. Cullen, A. ‘Land access and livelihoods in post-conflict Timor-Leste: no magic bullets’ International Journal of the Commons. 9: 2 619-647, 2015

von Benda Beckman, K., von Beckmann, F. and Wiber, L. Changing Properties of Property Oxford: Bergahn 2006

Bernstein, H. Class Dynamics of Agrarian Change Kumarian Press, 2010

Boone, C. Property Rights and Political Order in Africa: Land Rights and the Structure of Politics, Cambridge University Press, 2014.

Borras, Jr., S.M. & Franco, J. ‘Global Land Grabbing and Trajectories of Agrarian Change: A Preliminary Analysis’ Journal of Agrarian Change, Vol. 12 No. 1, January 2012, pp. 34–59.

Bovensiepen, J. The Land of Gold. Post-Conflict Recovery and Cultural Revival in Independent Timor-Leste

Bovensiepen, J. ‘Does oil have an ‘owner’? From heterotopia to resource antagonism in Timor-Leste’s emergent petroleum development boom’ Draft article typescript, 6 December 2016.

Cryan, M. ‘Impacts of the Suai Supply Base Project in Timor-Leste’ State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Program, Australian National University. http://ssgm.bellschool.anu.edu.au/experts- publications/publications/4112/impacts-suai-supply-base-project-timor-leste; downloaded on November 26 2017.

Fitzpatrick D, McWilliam, A, Barnes, S. Land Claims in East Timor, Palgrave, 2012

Gellert, P., & Andiko. The Quest for Legal Certainty and the Reorganization of Power: Struggles over Forest Law, Permits, and Rights in Indonesia. The Journal of Asian Studies, 74(3), 2015. 639-666.

Grandia, L. ‘Road Mapping: Mega Projects and Land Grabs in the Northern Guatemalan Lowlands’ in Wolford,W. Borras, Jr. S.M., Hall, R., Scoones I. and White. B. (eds.) Governing global land deals: the role of the state in the rush for land Chichester, West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., 2013.

Hall, D. 2011. ‘Land Grabs, Land Control, and Southeast Asian Crop Booms’. The Journal of Peasant Studies. 38 (4): 811-831.

Hall, D., Hirsch P. and Murray Li, T. 2011. Powers of Exclusion: Land Dilemmas in Southeast Asia. Singapore: National University of Singapore Press.

Hall, D. Land, Polity Press, 2012.

Hall, D. ‘Primitive Accumulation, Accumulation by Dispossession and the Global Land Grab’. Third World Quarterly, 43:9 1582-1604, 2013.

Harvey, D A Brief History of Neoliberalism Oxford University Press, 2007.

Harvey, D. The Limits to Capital London: Verso, 2006.

International Commission of Jurists ‘Special Economic Zones in Myanmar and the State Duty to Protect Human Rights’ 2017.

Kugelman, M. and Levenstein S.L. The Global Farms Race. Land Grabs, Agricultural Investment, and the Scramble for Food Security Island Press, 2012.

Larsson, T. Land and loyalty: security and the development of property rights in Thailand. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2012

Levien, M. ‘The land question: special economic zones and the political economy of dispossession in India’. The Journal of Peasant Studies Vol. 39, 3-4, 2012

Lund, C. Local Politics and the Dynamics of Property in Africa Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Marx, K. Capital. A Critical Analysis of Capitalist Production, volumes 1&2 London: Wordsworth, 2013.

McMichael, P. ‘Introduction, Food, Energy, Environment: Crisis of the Modern World-System’ pp.95-102, in Review (Fernand Braudel Center) vol.33, No. 2/3, 2010.

McWilliam, A. and Traube, E. G. ‘Land and Life in Timor-Leste: Introduction’ in Land and Life in Timor-Leste: Ethnographic Essays ANU Press, 2011

Oliveira, G de L.T. ‘Land Regularization in Brazil and the Global Land Grab’ in Wolford, W. Borras, Jr. S.M., Hall, R., Scoones I. and White. B. (eds.) Governing global land deals: the role of the state in the rush for land’ Chichester, West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., 2013.

Ostrom, E. Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Palmer, L. & Carvalho, D. do A. de ‘Nation building and resource management: The politics of ‘nature’ in Timor Leste’, Geoforum 39 1321–1332, 2008.

Peluso N.L. & Lund, C. ‘New frontiers of land control: Introduction’, The Journal of Peasant Studies, 38:4, 667-681.

Scott, J.C. Seeing like a State: How certain schemes to improve the human condition have failed Yale University Press, 1998.

Sikor, T. Lund, C. The Politics of Possession: Property, Authority, and Access to Natural Resources. Wiley-Blackwell 2009.

Sikor, T, Ngiem, PT, Sowerwine, J, and Romm, J eds. Upland Transformations in Vietnam Singapore: National University of Singapore Press, 2011

Wolford, W. Borras, Jr. S.M., Hall, R., Scoones I. and White. B. ‘Governing global land deals: the role of the state in the rush for land’ in Wolford,W. Borras, Jr. S.M., Hall, R., Scoones I. and White. B. (eds.) Governing global land deals: the role of the state in the rush for land’ Chichester, West Sussex : John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., 2013.

Laws, Agreements and Reports

Decreto do Presidente da República no. 01/2017 de 16 de Janeiro
Lei no. 13/2017 de 5 de Junho ‘Regime especial para a definição da Titularidade dos Bens Imóveis’

‘Treaty between The Government of Australia and The Government of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste
on Certain Maritime Arrangements in the Timor Sea’ (CMATS), 2006

‘Agreement between the Government of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste and the Government of Australia relating to the
Unitisation of the Sunrise and Troubadour Fields’ (IUA) 2003

‘Timor Sea Treaty between The Government of East Timor and The Government of Australia”, TST) 2003

‘Timor-Leste Strategic Development plan 2011 – 2030. Submitted to the National Parliament’, 2011.
Published
2018-01-30
How to Cite
GRAINGER, Alex. Land Control, Authority and Political Economy, and a Planned Petroleum Infrastructure Project in Timor-Leste. Journal of Southeast Asian Human Rights, [S.l.], v. 1, n. 2, p. 173-191, jan. 2018. ISSN 2599-2147. Available at: <https://jurnal.unej.ac.id/index.php/JSEAHR/article/view/6281>. Date accessed: 15 july 2024. doi: https://doi.org/10.19184/jseahr.v1i2.6281.
Section
Articles

Most read articles by the same author(s)

Obs.: This plugin requires at least one statistics/report plugin to be enabled. If your statistics plugins provide more than one metric then please also select a main metric on the admin's site settings page and/or on the journal manager's settings pages.