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1992 Mexican Agrarian Law

The 1992 Agrarian Law regulated the constitutional reforms of the same year, creating the agrarian courts and prosecutor to handle land disputes and reforming the Agrarian Land Registry. It maintained the ejido and agrarian community as legal entities alongside extended forms for private involvement in the rural economy. Above all, it established the right of members of ejidos or agrarian communities to obtain individual titles to their plots, albeit under the stewardship of the assembly, to enable the rent, sale and purchase of land. As such, it facilitated the individualised commercial exploitation of previously collectively titled land in the name of economic development. The process was driven forward with government programmes to secure the division and titling of individualised plots. These included the Certification of Ejidal Rights and Titling of Urban Plots (Certificación de Derechos Ejidales y Titulación de Solares Urbanos, PROCEDE), Support Fund for Agrarian Centres without Title (Fondo de Apoyo a los Núcleos Agrarios sin Regularizar, FANAR) and Program for the Regularization and Registration of Legal Agrarian Acts (Programa de Regularización y Registro de Actos Jurídicos Agrarios, RRAJA). The 1992 Agrarian Law was presented as a necessary mechanism to generate greater legal certainty around land tenure and encourage investment, but above all, “set in motion a whole structure which had the objective of incorporating ejido lands in the market of goods and services” (DPLF, 2018: 27).

In addition, Article 93 of the Agrarian Law authorised the expropriation of ejido or communal lands on the grounds of public utility. This included for the purpose of exploitation or conservation of a public service or function; the development or conservation of agricultural, forestry or fishery resources, including the creation or extension of territorial reserves; and the exploitation and processing of oil and other natural minerals belonging to the nation.

Article 106 of the Agrarian Law states that the authorities should protect land “corresponding” to indigenous communities according to the law regulating this constitutional guarantee. However, such a law governing these protective obligations was not created. As a result of this legal vacuum, while the ejido or community Assembly have remained the means of collective decision-making regarding indigenous land, a range of state and commercial interests have been unleashed, undermining the collective relationship of indigenous communities to their lands.

In 2017, 51.34% of Mexico’s national territory remained under social or collective ownership in the form of ejidos or agrarian communities (Cravioto, 2019: iv).

Type of Action / Tipo de Acción:
National Legislative Activities and Procedures
Extractive Project / Proyecto extractivo:
Region / Región:
Country / País:
Natural Resource / Recurso natural:
Jurisdiction / Jurisdicción:
Mexican System
Category of Key Actors in Legal Action / Categoría de actores claves en la Acción Legal:
Politicians and/or Political Parties, State Institutions
Key Legal Actors Involved / Actores jurídicos clave involucrados:
President Salinas de Gortari, National Congress
Year Action Started / Año de inicio:
References / Referencias:

CDHM Tlachinollan, “Montaña a Cielo Abierto ¡Libre de Minería! – La defensa contra la Minería a Cielo Abierto en Júbà Wájíín y La Región Montaña Alta y Costa Chica en Guerrero”, Tlapa de Comonfort, Guerrero, Mexico, dated June 2021, online:, accessed 8 December 2021.

Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF), “Informe sobre la jurisdicción agraria y los derechos humanos de los pueblos indígenas y campesinos de México”, dated 10 August 2018, online:, accessed 16 June 2021.

Ley Agraria, Published in the Official Gazette on 26 February 1992, accessed 16 June 2021.