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Bridging the Housing Land and Property Gap

By Displacement Solutions  •  June 3, 2013

Pages from DIS2383+Bridging+The+Gap+WEBOf the many challenging issues that will require resolution within the peace processes currently underway between the government of Myanmar and various ethnic groups in the country, few will be as complex, sensitive and yet vital than the issues comprising housing, land and property (HLP) rights. Viewed in terms of the rights of the sizable internally displaced person (IDP) and refugee populations who will be affected by the eventual peace agreements, and within the broader political reform process, HLP rights will need to form a key part of all of the ongoing moves to secure a sustainable peace, and be a key ingredient within all activities dedicated to ending displacement in Myanmar today.

The Government Myanmar (including the military) and its various ethnic negotiating partners – just as with all countries that have undergone deep political transition in recent decades, including those emerging from lengthy conflicts – need to fully appreciate and comprehend the nature and scale of the HLP issues that have emerged in past decades, how these have affected and continue to affect the rights and perspectives of justice of those concerned, and the measures that will be required to remedy HLP concerns in a fair and equitable manner that strengthens the foundations for permanent peace. Resolving forced displacement and the arbitrary acquisition and occupation of land, addressing the HLP and other human rights of returning refugees and IDPs in areas of return, ensuring livelihood and other economic opportunities and a range of other measures will be required if return is be sustainable and imbued with a sense of justice.

There is an acute awareness among all of those involved in the ongoing peace processes of the centrality of HLP issues within the context of sustainable peace, however, all too little progress has thus far been made to address these issues in any detail, nor have practical plans commenced to resolve ongoing displacement of either refugees or IDPs. Indeed, the negotiating positions of both sides on key HLP issues differ sharply and will need to be bridged; many difficult decisions remain to be made. At this stage of the various negotiations, offering final recommendations to the many negotiating parties on the intricacies of what will be required to secure HLP rights may be somewhat premature. As such, this report concludes with a series of preliminary recommendations that are designed to bridge any HLP gaps that may be in  place between the parties and to facilitate ways and means of addressing these issues within peace agreements that best serve the interests of all involved.

Download the full report here.

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