Director of Displacement Solutions
Scott Leckie, the Director of Displacement Solutions, has worked for the past decade directly on HLP restitution issues in a range of countries and achieved concrete results in many of these settings. In 1998 he prepared a Plan of Action on behalf of UNHCR for the possible return of refugees and IDPs in the Republic of Georgia and South Ossetia, including a draft Law on Housing and Property Restitution of the Republic of Georgia, the latest version of which remains under discussion in the Georgian Parliament today. Also in 1998, he worked with Bhutanese refugees in eastern Nepal to assist them in documenting restitution claims and evidence as a precursor to eventual return. In 1999, he conceived and designed the UN Mission in Kosovo’s (UNMIK) Housing and Property Directorate, which to date has settled over 29,000 restitution claims in the territory.
In 2000, he designed the institutional and legal framework for an East Timor Housing and Land Commission, on behalf of the UN Transitional Authority in East Timor (UNTAET). In 2001, at the request of the Social Investment Division of British Petroleum (BP), he prepared a draft Policy on Population Displacement and Involuntary Resettlement, the first such policy ever considered by a transnational corporation. In 2002, with the support of the OSCE and the World Bank, he developed a legal reform plan in Albania to facilitate the restitution of properties illegally seized during the period of dictatorship and provided legal analysis of the draft Law on Return and Compensation for Property of Former Owners. Also in 2002, he assisted the Palestinian Negotiations Support Unit in developing positions on the question of restitution and prepared a detailed report entitled Survey of Housing, Land and Property Restitution: Precedents for Palestinian Refugees.
In 2003, Mr Leckie worked with a leading judge in Sri Lanka, on behalf of UNHCR, to prepare the institutional design and normative framework required to enable the exercise of the right to land, housing and property restitution for returning refugees and IDPs in Sri Lanka. The proposed Sri Lankan Land Commission was subsequently presented to the parties during the initial phases of the Norwegian-led peace process. Also in 2003, at the request of the UN Mission in Iraq, headed by Sergio Vierra d’Mello, he designed the Iraqi Housing, Land and Property Directorate, which was under discussion at the time of the tragic bombing of UN Headquarters in Baghdad in August 2003. In 2004, at the request of the United Nations, he prepared a draftUN Policy on Housing, Land and Property Rights in Post-Conflict Settings. In early 2005, he worked in Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Thailand on land restitution issues in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean Tsunami. In the same year, a process he initiated in 2002 culminated in the adoption by a UN body of the Principles on Housing and Property Restitution for Refugees and Displaced Persons (‘Pinheiro Principles’) which provided the first international normative framework specifically dedicated to these issues.
In 2006, he developed the Burma HLP Initiative and the Bougainville HLP Initiative, both of which are designed to promote greater attention to HLP rights in these conflict-ridden countries. In 2007, he established Displacement Solutions and continued to work on a diverse range of issues relating to the resolution of ongoing displacement throughout the world. This included the primary authorship of the DS report Housing Timor and a variety of speeches and lectures addressing various displacement themes including the rights of Palestinian refugees and the need to address in greater detail, the rights of forced climate migrants to new and viable HLP options once forced to flee their homes due to climate change. In 2008, he has devoted most of his time to exploring the links between climate change and displacement, focusing in particular on the issues as they affect the Maldives, Papua New Guinea and various Pacific Island nations.
Mr Leckie has also produced a range of publications dedicated to solving various displacement challenges. In 2008, Cambridge University Press (CUP) published his edited volume Housing, Land And Property Rights In Post-Conflict United Nations And Other Peace Operations: A Comparative Survey & Proposals For Reform.In 2007, his Housing, Land and Property Restitution Rights of Refugees and Displaced Persons: Laws, Cases and Materials was also published by CUP. Also in 2007, he prepared a practitioners’ Handbook on the Implementation of Housing, Land and Property Rights for the Internal Displacement Division of the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). In 2003, his volume Returning Home: Housing and Property Restitution Rights of Refugees and Displaced Persons was published by Transnational Publishers. An entirely new second volume of the Returning Home series was published by the same publishing house in 2008. He has edited several periodicals devoted to the subject of HLP rights and solutions to displacement, including editions of Oxford University’s Forced Migration Review (April 2000) and UNHCR’s Refugee Survey Quarterly (2000). He has also developed and assisted in the production and direction of several documentary films on these themes. His CV, current to February 2011, is available here.