DS Exploring HLP Restitution Prospects in Myanmar

28 November 2016

DS carried out its latest mission to Myanmar in October with a focus this time on the question of housing, land and property restitution rights and how best to ensure these rights for everyone with an HLP loss and valid restitution claim in need of remedy. DS and the Norwegian Refugee Council will shortly be reducing a major new study on restitution, which it plans to publicly launch in Yangon in January 2017. A range of restitution measures are already in place in Myanmar, signalling a major concrete outcome of the political reform process. The new study proposes a series of specific recommendations on how to move to the next level of the quest of restitution for all. These efforts build on DS’ extensive global experience on designing restitution laws and systems throughout the history of the organisation. 

DS Again Highlighting HLP Issues in Myanmar

19 June 2016

DS Director Scott Leckie and DS associate Zeke Simperingham again visited Myanmar for a two-week DS mission in May 2016 to explore recent developments in the land sector, and the prospects for restitution forming part of the expanding peace process in the country.  With the new NLD-led government in power for the first time, the prospects for positive action within the land sector are noteworthy. DS worked together with the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) in developing recommendations for the British Government’s aid agency DFID, and how the UK might best support land-related activities in the context of the peace process. Land is key negotiating issue between the government and the various ethnic negotiating partners, and will invariably form a key basis for the eventual conclusion of peace agreements in the future. DS will continue to expand its Myanmar HLP Initiative in the coming year with a variety of projects within the land sector, including a joint project with Landesa on climate displacement within the country. 

Press on Climate Displacement and the Bangladesh HLP Initative

7 March 2016


The Bangladesh HLP Initiative has been active in supporting and encouraging print and electronic media in Bangladesh to report on the needs of climate displaced persons across the country. 

A selection of articles and reports on climate displacement in Bangladesh and the work of the Bangladesh HLP Initiative follows:

Coastal Bangladesh, Orientation to Lawyers on Climate Displacement Held, 13 July 2015:

Dhaka Tribune, Critical Role of Land in Solving Climate Displacement, 25 November 2015.

Dhaka Tribune, The Urgent Need for Rights-Based Solutions to Climate Displacement in Bangladesh, 16 November 2015.

Coastal Bangladesh, Climate Displacement in Bangladesh and Durable Solutions, 8 September 2014.

New York Times, Borrowed Time on Disappearing Land – Facing Rising Seas, Bangladesh Confronts the Consequences of Climate Change, 28 March, 2014.

The Financial Express, Climate Displacement and Durable Solutions, 6 February 2014.

For a selection of Bengali press on climate displacement and the Bangladesh HLP Initiative, please see here.

To get in touch with the Bangladesh HLP Initiative, please email: info@displacementsolutions.org.

New Review of Scott Leckie and Chris Huggins’ Book – Conflict and HLP Rights – from the Human Rights Review

8 January 2016

A book review of DS Director Scott Leckie’s and Chris Huggin’s 2011 book Conflict and Housing, Land and Property Rights: A Handbook on Issues, Frameworks, and Solutions was published in late 2015 in Human Rights Review and can be accessed here.


Bangladesh HLP Initiative – Updates and Developments

23 May 2014

Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 6.20.47 PMDisplacement Solutions and our partners Young Power in Social Action (YPSA) have been working since 2011 to find innovative rights-based solutions to climate displacement in Bangladesh. We are hoping that the second half of 2014 will bring the best results thus far!

Some of the recent highlights of the Bangladesh HLP Initiative include:


Land Solutions to Climate Displacement in Bangladesh

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The Bangladesh HLP Initiative is now focusing on the role of land in providing domestic solutions to climate displacement in Bangladesh. In 2014, DS and YPSA will provide ground-breaking support to vulnerable climate displaced families to access to new homes and new lands to homes and lands lost to climate hazards in Bangladesh.




New Action Research on Climate Displacement in Bangladesh

DS has recently finalised and will soon publish four innovative reports designed to playa  key role in supporting the provision of rights-based solutions to climate displacement  in Bangladesh, including:

1. Climate Displacement in Bangladesh: Stakeholders, Laws and Policies – Mapping the Existing Institutional Framework (182p)

2. Land Availability for Climate Displaced Communities in Bangladesh

3. Land Acquisition for Climate Displaced Communities in Bangladesh

4. The Viability of a Chittagong Hill Tracts as a Destination for Climate Displaced Communities

The latter three reports have appeared as chapters in DS Director Scott Leckie’s most recent book, Land Solutions for Climate Displacement, published in May 2014 by Routledge.

These reports will be made available on the DS website as soon as they are published.

DS Mission to Bangladesh – May 2014

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In May 2014, DS representative Ezekiel Simperingham visited Bangladesh for the sixth time to raise awareness of the situation of climate displacement in Bangladesh, the rights of climate displaced persons and the work and plans of the Bangladesh HLP Initiative. During this mission, DS met with representatives from UNDP, UNHCR, the Embassy of Sweden, the Embassy of Germany, Oxfam, GiZ, PKSF, AFD, IFAD, the Embassy of the Netherlands and the Delegation of the EU to Bangladesh.




Round Table Discussion on The HLP Rights of Climate Displaced Persons in Bangladesh

In early 2014, YPSA hosted a round table discussion on the HLP rights of climate displaced persons in Bangladesh. Dr Hasan Mahmud, the former Minister of Environment and Forest was present as a Chief Guest and Md. Jafar Alam, Director of Department of Environment, Chittagong moderated the round table discussion.

Development and Distribution of the “5 Point Advocacy Action Plan”

This unique document identifies 5 key actions that should be undertaken by the Government of Bangladesh to provide rights-based durable solutions to climate displacement. All of these actions can, and should, be supported by the regional and international communities, as well as local and international civil society and NGOs working in Bangladesh. Over 1,000 copies of this Action Plan have already been distributed to key stakeholders across Bangladesh.

Advocacy and Capacity Building on the Rights of Climate Displaced Persons in Bangladesh

The Bangladesh HLP Initiative continues to undertake advocacy, awareness raising and capacity building on the rights of climate displaced communities in Bangladesh.

Government Officials and Representatives – Over the past 6 months, the Bangladesh HLP Initiative has coordinated and hosted a number of stakeholder meetings on climate displacement with local and senior Government officials and representatives in Dhaka, Chittagong, Sitakund, Mirsharai, Banskhali, Sandwip, Brahmanbaria, Comilla and Cox’s Bazar.

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Media and Journalists – In February 2014, the Bangladesh HLP Initiative conducted training and awareness raising on the rights of climate displaced persons with journalists from the Daily Suprobhat Bangladesh, Daily ProthomAlo, Daily Independent, Daily Amader Samay, NTV, Bangladesh Pratidin, Daily Purbakan, Daily Sun, bdnews24.com, Machranga TV, DeshTV and the Daily Azadit.

Bangladesh Political Parties – DS and YPSA have conducted advocacy meetings with senior representatives from the the Awami League, the Jatiya Party and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

Lawyer’s Associations – DS and YPSA facilitated the creation of the “Climate Displacement Forum” of the Chittagong Bar Association. This informal network of local lawyers in Bangladesh intends to undertake lobbying on effective legislative and policy change as well as public interest litigation under the Constitution of Bangladesh on the rights of climate displaced persons.

DS Spearheading HLP Rights Advice in Post-Haiyan Philippines

4 April 2014

DS is currently engaged in providing on-the-ground advice and expertise on numerous HLP issues arising in the aftermath of the tragic events of November 2013 in the Philippines. Super Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Typhoon Yolanda) made first landfall in the Philippines on 8 November 2013 and was the most powerful typhoon ever recorded to hit land. The devastation from Yolanda has been catastrophic, damaging or destroying over 1 million homes, leaving thousands dead and displacing 4 million people.

Working with the support of the IFRC, DS deployed one of its HLP Experts, Ezekiel (Zeke) Simperingham, as a National Housing, Land and Property (HLP) Advisor to the Shelter Cluster in the Philippines.

In response to Yolanda, the IASC Shelter Cluster was convened to coordinate the humanitarian shelter response and is co-chaired by IFRC and the Philippines Department of Social Welfare and Development.

DS is working closely with humanitarian shelter agencies in all Cluster hubs (Manila, Tacloban, Guiuan, Roxas, Ormoc and Cebu), with national and local authorities and with other IASC Clusters (including Protection and CCCM), providing advice on legal and regulatory barriers to the provision of shelter assistance as well as seeking to promote the housing, land and property rights of all affected persons in all aspects of the humanitarian response. The DS expert has prepared a series of HLP guidance notes which have been distributed to a range of local government officials and UN and other agencies active in the recovery efforts.

HLP issues have emerged as one of the key challenges in the humanitarian response to Yolanda. Building on DS experience in Sri Lanka following the Asian Tsunami of 2005, DS has focused on advising on the declaration of a 40m coastal “no build zone”, which restricts the right of people to return and rebuild their homes in coastal areas; plans to relocate affected people from no build zones and other declared “danger zones” to transitional and permanent relocation sites; promoting standards of adequacy in shelter and housing including the need to strengthen security of tenure for the many informal settlers affected by Yolanda and the need to promote principles around non-discrimination and the protection of the most vulnerable in the HLP sector.

Access to the DS Global HLP Rights Expert Registry is available to the UN and other international agencies. The Registry allows DS to provide high-quality and field-tested expertise, tools and human resources to enable all future post-conflict and post-disaster peace and emergency relief operations to be properly equipped to address the HLP rights challenges facing all countries in such circumstances. Please email DS at info@displacementsolutions.org to access the DS Global HLP Rights Expert Registry.

DS has also issued three Guidance Notes on several key HLP themes, including relocation and the HLP rights of indigenous peoples. You can access them by clicking on the following links:

Below are a few images of the ravaged coastline of the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan.







Landmark Report Launch: Bridging the HLP Gap in Myanmar

2 June 2013

Displacement Solutions has presented Scott Leckie’s latest report Bridging the Housing Land and Property Gap at the Sedona Hotel, Yangon, Myanmar.

Bridging the HLP Gap urges government bodies and Ethnic Group Peace Campaigners to recognise and address housing, land, and property (HLP) rights of refugees and IDPs affected during the country’s transitional phase. The report contains a number of recommendations to ensure unanimous agreement on the complex and vital issues comprising HLP rights as a foundation for sustainable peace.

Read Media Release here. 

DS Calls for a National HLP Summit in Myanmar

24 October 2012

Media Coverage

Dvb.no. Interview with Scott Leckie: ‘Burma could very easily become the displacement capital or Asia.’
Myanmar Times. Article. Government needs to act on land, says NGO.

Yangon (26 Oct) – A highly anticipated report released today in Yangon by Displacement Solutions urges the government, opposition parties and civil society groups to urgently convene a national summit to urgently discuss the housing, land and property rights crisis in Myanmar.

The report – Myanmar at the HLP Crossroads – details growing problems of land grabbing, land speculation, housing unaffordability and the lack of adequate housing and basic services in the country and calls for a unified and concerted approach to tackle these vital issues for the countries future.

Myanmar at the HLP Crossroads is the first comprehensive report to focus on housing, land, and property rights (HLP rights) in Myanmar since President Thein Sein took office in March 2011. According to the main author of the report, Scott Leckie, “Myanmar now finds itself at a critical juncture. Whichever way the country decides to go will decisively shape the housing, land and property realities of everyone in the years to come. The decisions taken now need to well-informed, inspired by the best practices of other countries that have undergone structural political transition and based squarely on the will of the people”.

The report outlines four specific recommendations that it beleives can greatly improve the HLP prospects of the country in the coming period. Beyond calling for a National HLP Summit, the report also urges that work commence immediately to reform the inadequate and outdated HLP legal code in the country (including the revision of the two 2012 land laws) resulting in a consolidated National HLP Law, and for far greater attention to be paid to the consequences of land grabbing and speculation.

“With political will and commitment from all political actors, there is every reason to believe that Myanmar can become a showcase for how to address questions of HLP rights in a manner that benefits everyone in the country. Likewise, with targeted donor support to these vital sectors, the international community is ideally situated to assist the people of Myanmar to achieve the aim of HLP rights for all within the foreseeable future”, added Leckie.

A full copy of the report is available here


New DS Publication on HLP Rights and International Criminal Justice

4 September 2012

Crimes against the home are commonplace in situations of armed conflict, both international and national in origin, as well as in non-conflict settings where the perpetrators of such abuses target housing, land and property assets as a means of securing economic gain or simply sowing terror in the hearts and minds of those victimised by these crimes. For too long these particular actions – forced displacement, the wanton destruction of property, land theft/grabbing, unlawful expropriation of land, ethnic cleansing, deprivation of basic services crucial for life such as water and electricity, and so many others – have been treated as unfortunate side effects of conflict, political transition or processes of economic development, rather than as the crimes these acts so clearly constitute.

International law is becoming ever more precise as to which practices constitute crimes against humanity and war crimes, and this publication – prepared by DS legal consultant Ezekiel Simperingham – outlines which acts and omissions satisfy the criteria for being labelled as such crimes, and more importantly, the judicial and other avenues that are now available to provide redress for this misdeeds. To access a copy of this publication, click here.