Update to HND30323.E of 30 October 1998 on the judicial and administrative procedures involved in re-allocating farm land from land owners to peasants (1990 to 1998) [HND31165.E]

The following information on the judicial and administrative procedures involved in re-allocating farm land from land owners to peasants was provided by a legal adviser of the General Secretariat at the National Agrarian Institute (Instituto Nacional Agrario, INA) in a 24 November 1998 letter sent to the Research Directorate.

Basic laws:

Constitution of the Republic, Land Reform Act, its Regulations and Amendments, Modernization and Development of the Agricultural Sector Act.

Secondary laws:

Administrative Proceedings Act (in cases filed since 1987), Administrative Proceedings Code (in cases filed before 1987) and supplementary application Code, Civil Code, Code of Common Procedure and all the laws on which the Land Reform can be based.

Procedure used for land distribution:

Once the interested persons have submitted the respective claim, the order is given to carry out the prescribed investigation through which are determined the conditions, mode and level of use of the property that is being claimed; a socio-economic study is carried out to verify the financial capacity of the claimants and to make sure they meet the requirements of Article 170 of the Land Reform Act.

If the properties are to be adjudicated to ethnic communities or indigenous tribes, the documentation attached to their claim is verified (generally speaking these are land titles granted by the State to their ancestors). Early in 1990, this Institute gave ethnic groups national guarantees to the occupation of properties, pending final award to them upon completion of the legal requirements.

The land is not taken away from farmers; however, when a group occupies a property that belongs to a landowner -- and if it is being properly used and its ownership is duly established in the corresponding land Registration book -- an eviction order is given to the group after the necessary search has been done and the land is given back to the landowner. When it is ascertained that the landowner's properties exceed the prescribed limits (Art. 25 of the Land Reform Act), he can keep the maximum amount but the excess is expropriated for the Land Reform Program.

In such cases, the landowner receives compensation for the improvements made to the land, plus an amount per manzana of land expropriated. Whenever land under a nationally recognized land claim is taken away from him, he receives compensation for the improvements made to the recovered piece of land.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Instituto Nacional Agrario (INA), Tegucigalpa, Honduras. 24 November 1998. Letter sent to the Research Directorate by a legal advisor. Translated by the Multilingual Translation Directorate at the Department of Public Works and Government Services Canada.