Do We Need a New World Restitution Agency? Send Us Your Ideas

30 September 2021

To everyone who is a parent and to those who are yet to become or may never become parents, what is one of the first things that parents seek to teach their young children? What life lesson does every parent notwithstanding their culture, religion, level of wealth or any other distinction, seek to impart to every child as a cornerstone of being a good person, doing the right thing, living as a kind human being? Of course, that first life lesson all across the globe is simply to do no harm, do not kill or hurt another human being. And close behind that basic part of what it means to be human is this: Do not steal. Do not take what is not yours to take. But in a world where in every culture, every legal system, every religion, every set of moral principles, everywhere stealing is seen as wrong, a crime and something for which people should be punished, there sure is a lot of stealing going on. And very much as is the case with the murder of another human being if you murder one other person you will likely go to prison for life no matter where…...
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Longstanding DS associate, Prof. Daniel Fitzpatrick’s new book – Law, Property and Disasters : Adaptive Perspectives from the Global South.

26 July 2021

Longstanding DS associate, Prof. Daniel Fitzpatrick of Monash Law School in Melbourne, Australia, has published a new book – Law, Property and Disasters : Adaptive Perspectives from the Global South, with co author Caroline Compton. Analysing the challenges posed by natural disasters and the mass movement of people, the book demonstrates that state-centred property law is ill-adapted to circumstances of mass human mobility. In a world affected by catastrophic disasters, the book develops a vision of adaptive governance for property in land. This book will appeal to a broad readership with interests in legal theory, property law, international development, refugee studies and natural disasters. It's a great book. Give it a read!...
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New DS Report (!) – Courtrooms and Climate Change

14 December 2020

New DS Report (!) - Courtrooms and Climate Change: The Current State of Play - Global attention to the question of climate change, including climate displacement, has expanded dramatically over the 15 years since Displacement Solutions initiated our efforts to find concrete, rights-based and land-based solutions to this crisis. One area, in particular, that has seen considerable advancement in recent years is the growing scope of judicial attention to various aspects of the climate change question, spanning international, regional and national institutions. More than 1,500 cases have been filed addressing various aspects of the climate crisis over the past several years, and as a result, a rapidly growing body of case law is emerging from judicial organs that collectively give a sense of which climate change issues adjudicative bodies are willing to address, as well as the extent to which such judicial (and quasi-judicial) decisions are having a real world impact on the environmental and human impacts of global warming and all of its effects. Our new 218-page report - Courtrooms and Climate Change: The Current State of Play - explores some of the leading cases decided thus far and how judges and lawyers in countries as diverse as the Netherlands,…...
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Read this book!!!

20 February 2020

Congratulations to long-time DS associate Dr. Khaled Hassine on his new book Handling Climate Displacement! Recently published by Cambridge University Press, this excellent book delves into all of the key issues on climate displacement, with a focus on how the Peninsula Principles on Climate Displacement Within States (2013) can play a key role in preventing and resolving this global crisis. This is a valuable book by a truly fine human being and I encourage everyone to read it and share it with your friends, family, colleagues. Not a bad cover photo, too.....  ...
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Land Grabbing as an Internationally Wrongful Act – NEW DS Report on Ending Land Grabbing in Myanmar

21 October 2019

DS has just published a major 184-page legal report on the land grabbing in Myanmar and how these processes constitute internationally wrongful acts. The report includes a 21-step legal roadmap to end land grabbing once and for in Myanmar, a nation that is one of the worst in the world in  Although the general power of States to compulsorily acquire, expropriate or otherwise confiscate or 'grab' land, homes and properties is legislatively recognised in virtually all national legal systems, to be lawful these processes generally carry with them five fundamental pre-conditions. Namely, when housing, land or property rights are revoked or limited through these processes, this can only be carried out when the taking concerned is:             1) subject to law and due process;             2) subject to the general principles of international law;             3) in the interest of society and not for the benefit of another private party;             4) proportionate, reasonable and subject to a fair balance test between the cost and the aim sought; and             5) subject to the provision of just and satisfactory compensation. In all countries, the act of compulsorily acquiring land is highly regulated and something which rights-respecting governments are often reluctant…...
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Climate Land Bank Idea Gets Major Boost in New ADB Report

7 August 2019

A new report on Promoting Affordable Housing in Yangon, Myanmar published by the Asian Development Bank has, among other recommendations, urged the government of Myanmar to consider establishing a National Climate Land Bank to proactively address the looming climate displacement crisis in the country. The report notes that "Myanmar’s housing sector is struggling to cope with rapid urbanization, internal migration, and new demand from recent economic growth. These challenges are most apparent in the Yangon Region, where estimates suggest there will be a housing shortage of 1.3 million units by 2030. This publication assesses the current housing market situation in Yangon. It identifies reform options and offers practical recommendations to support the Yangon Region Government’s implementation of its affordable housing agenda and related policies." With a specific recommendation to establish a climate land bank, the report continues "The central importance of land for security, stability, and economic development is already well-recognized by the present government and by all organs of civil society, which have commenced identifying state land resources for eventual distribution to landless rural poor households as part of broader land reform efforts. In this context, the establishment of the MNCLB would be a further element of broader land…...
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New DS & NRC Report on Obstacles to HLP Rights in Northern Mon State

16 April 2019

Land in south-eastern Myanmar is a critical resource for the mainly rural population which is in need of greater safeguards within the formal, informal and customary systems of land administration. Customary law continues to operate at the village level, largely unchanged since pre-colonial times. While exhibiting many of the positive elements commonly attributed to such systems throughout the developing world, customary laws in relation to the resolution of land disputes are not always effective and equitable, and do not always display qualities which are consistent with rule of law standards. Deficiencies in transparency, accountability and equality have the potential to undermine the ability of marginalised sections of the population to access justice and obtain fair outcomes. Decades of military rule have exacerbated the structural inequalities experienced by Mon, Kayin and other ethnicities in their interactions with government authorities and the parallel administrations of Ethnic Armed Organisations (EAOs). This means that in addition to the large amounts of land-grabbing experienced by the population across Mon State, the avenues of resolving such grievances remain inaccessible to most poor rural populations, due to a combination of fear of authorities, language barriers, lack of knowledge regarding land law and dispute resolution mechanisms beyond the…...
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Customary Land Dispute Mechanisms in Myanmar – New Report by DS & NRC

16 April 2019

This report provides an in-depth understanding of customary land dispute resolution in Kayin State, Eastern Bago Region and Shan State and its interaction with the formal statutory Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar(GORUM) system. A participatory community-based research approach was used to understand customary practices concerning land, including how land title is defined, enforced and how land disputes are contested, negotiated and resolved at the community level. Based on the perceptions of local people and village leaders in the three research sites, the report identifies current practices as well as prior work on this topic in Myanmar and seeks to identify ongoing dispute resolution mechanisms and practices used by communities in ethnic nationality areas with a view to informing policy and programming on restitution. Key to this analysis is the question of what a genuine restitution process might look like in Myanmar and how customary practices might be integrated into it. Furthermore, if a genuine restitution process was established, what realistic capacity is there to integrate customary dispute mechanisms and authorities into it. Based on in-depth qualitative research in 31 villages across 3 regions/states, it offers an insight into understandings of customary mechanisms that people use to…...
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DS Comments on Post-Earthquake HLP Policy in Nepal

9 April 2019

Displacement Solutions was approached and commissioned by DFID to carry out research on the housing, land and property rights issues arising from the reconstruction process, with an emphasis on the planned relocation aspects thereof. Displacement Solutions undertook a three-person mission to Nepal in November 2018 during which time extensive interviews were carried out, field visits made, and film footage taken for the production of a short documentary film which has since been completed. Based on this methodology, this report focuses on aspects of progress to date related to survivors access to housing, land and property either at their homes of origin, or through various relocation and resettlement schemes underway since government led reconstruction work was initiated in late 2015. https://issuu.com/displacementsolutions/docs/nepal_idp_and_hlp_paper...
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