The state is not obligated to distribute property to its citizens. But it is obligated to protect the right to own property. The three great regional agreements over human rights guarantee to all the right to freely acquire objects of property and to freely dispose of them. International law protects civil property in case of armed conflict. However, complicated questions arise regarding agrarian reform and commercial utilisation of traditional territories of indigenous people. An agreement of the International Organisation of Labor appeals to states to take into account and protect the rights of property and possessions of indigenous people.
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© 2005 by Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland