Honduras: Preparing for solutions through abandoned property registration
The dispossession of housing, land and property is a particularly critical protection concern within the Government’s wider efforts to address internal displacement. As of 2019, 34 per cent of displaced households who had been homeowners prior to displacement reported losing their houses to abandonment, occupation or destruction, with an additional 33 per cent deciding to sell their homes.
A staggering 97 per cent of all displaced households indicated they did not intend to return to their original homes.10 IDPs generally lack sufficient trust in government institutions to report abandoned property, fearing reprisals from gangs if they were known to have cooperated with authorities.
Displaced people also face difficulties proving ownership, particularly since in many cases, ownership was not officially recorded in the national land register (cadaster) in the first place, thus further complicating efforts to guard against occupation, destruction, or illegal sales during displacement.
In 2015, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of IDPs recommended the creation of a confidential system for the registration of abandoned homes and property so that the Government could establish a legal process to ensure restitution or compensation, which he identified as a key element to finding durable solutions. In support of the Government’s commitment to establish such a register by 2020, UNHCR commissioned a study in 2017 reviewing relevant legal and institutional framework. This concluded that the existing laws and policies in Honduras were not adapted to the specific needs of displaced people.
Somalia: Exploring Land Value Sharing Options to Support Durable Solutions in Urban Areas
Rapidly growing urban municipalities in Somalia have been grappling with how to respond to the over 2 million IDPs currently living in their cities, many of whom arrived years or even decades ago. With some 80 per cent of IDPs preferring local integration, Somalia’s urban municipalities share the common challenge of generating the necessary resources to finance housing construction and public services, which can run into the hundreds of millions of dollars, that would enable all IDPs to find a durable solution, not just a select few.
In 2019, the United Nations Integrated Office of the SRSG/RC/HC commissioned the report “Towards Sustainable Urban Development in Somalia and IDP Durable Solutions at Scale.” In particular, the report presents options for how Somalia’s urban municipalities could, with the support of the international community, utilize “land value sharing tools,” in long-term urban development processes to maximize urban land use, provide stronger tenancy rights for IDPs, and generate revenue to finance durable solutions for IDPs. Land-value sharing tools are based on the premise that the wider community, not just individual owners, should benefit when public investments, such as road construction and sewage systems, increase property values.
Ukraine: Adapting pre-existing housing schemes to meet IDP’s specific needs
The City of Mariupol is widely reputed to have one of the best housing programmes for IDPs in Ukraine.14 Its housing programmes arose out of necessity, adapting to evolving conditions over time. In May 2014, the city of 475,000 people initially had sufficient capacity to meet IDPs’ needs. But as thousands of IDPs fled to Mariupol over subsequent months, the ad hoc arrangements were no longer adequate. The mayor designated the Department for Family and Children to lead the provision of food, health services and emergency housing in collective centres for those who had no other place to go. In early 2015, with over 100,000 IDPs in Mariupol and few viable options for return, the city began investing in housing options with the support of UNHCR, which had previously assisted with the winterization of emergency collective centres, the European Union, national and international NGOs and others.