It is crucial to address HLP issues in humanitarian interventions from the onset as well as integrate them in peacebuilding and development programs in order to protect the HLP rights of displaced people. If HLP issues (including associated regulatory barriers) are not addressed from the outset of an emergency they can undermine the entire humanitarian response and exclude the most vulnerable. The guidance note Integrating Housing, Land and Property issues into Key Humanitarian, Transitional and Development Processes identifies possible entry points to integrate HLP issues in planning processes, thereby facilitating due consideration of HLP issues in responses.
Common HLP issues in emergencies include tenure discrimination leading to inequitable assistance; loss of HLP documentation; disputed access to land for shelter and livelihoods; establishing access to natural resources, such as water; land and property conflicts; forced evictions; secondary occupation;
land grabbing; restitution; and disinheritance, particularly of women and children.
HLP rights are referenced and defined in several international human rights instruments which include universally recognized human rights, particularly the right to adequate housing. Organizations providing protection and assistance to persons affected by disasters and conflict should respect the human rights — including HLP rights — of affected persons at all times, and advocate for their promotion and protection to the fullest extent.
HLP in Emergencies
This short animation focuses on Housing, Land and Property (HLP) in emergencies, presenting some of the issues commonly faced, and stressing the importance of considering HLP when planning and implementing humanitarian interventions. The video is available in English, Amharic, Arabic, French, Portuguese, Somali, and Spanish. Further information can be found at www.sheltercluster.org/hlp.
The HLP in Shelter Programs Mobile Guide is a 10-minute mobile phone content that focuses on how to effectively engage with HLP issues in emergencies. This includes verifying and securing tenure to prevent disputes and establishing long lasting solutions for communities affected by conflict and disasters. The mobile guide was developed in coordination with the Global Shelter Cluster and can be accessed here https://get.disasterready.org/housing-land-property-in-shelter-programs (requires registration).
Global level coordination
The Global Housing, Land and Property Area of Responsibility (HLP AoR) has the overarching goal to support a more systematic approach to addressing HLP issues on the ground; by promoting collaboration and complementarity of efforts amongst agencies undertaking HLP activities and by addressing gaps in policy and technical area.
It has three strategic objectives that serve this goal:
- Improved global support to HLP coordination and response.
- Enhanced global attention to HLP through donor engagement, advocacy, and HLP inclusion across clusters.
- Improved HLP AoR governance and resilience.
In line with the Principles of Partnership, the HLP AoR operates as an open and inclusive forum with the view to benefit from the wide range of expertise within the HLP community of practice. Currently led by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), the membership of the HLP AoR includes UN agencies, NGOs, research and academic institutions, donors, human rights and development agencies, and representatives of other AoRs and global clusters. If you are interested in learning more or contributing to the HLP AoR, please contact the Global HLP AoR Coordinator (contacts below).
The centrality of protection within durable solutions for displacement-affected communities is exemplified in the struggle that vulnerable groups face to claim and enjoy their HLP rights. Without the protection of HLP rights, durable solutions will remain an elusive concept, not grounded in reality.
At a country/operation level, the HLP AoR is represented through HLP working groups. These working groups facilitate the coordination of specialist HLP interventions and ensure that HLP issues are effectively considered in other relevant humanitarian sectors.
Currently, there are active country level HLP coordination groups in: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, CAR, DRC, Ethiopia, Iraq, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, oPt, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, Yemen. Further groups are planned for 2022-23. For more information about any of these, please contact the Global HLP AoR Coordinator.
The Housing, Land and Property (HLP) Area of Responsibility
The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has been leading the Housing, Land and Property Area of Responsibility (HLP AoR) since 2016. Globally, the membership of the HLP AoR includes UN agencies, NGOs, research and academic institutions, donors, human rights and development agencies, and representatives of other AoRs and global clusters.