Afghanistan

Afghanistan: Housing, Land and Property Factsheet (April 2017)

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Background: Forced displacement often leads to the loss of land, homes and other property with serious consequences for individuals and communities, who as a result are deprived of their main source of physical and economic security. Disputes involving housing, land and property (HLP) are both a fundamental cause of conflict as well as a result arising in the aftermath of conflict and can pose obstacles to return, reintegration and reconciliation. These disputes pose immediate protection and early recovery challenges in humanitarian operations. If left unaddressed, disputes on HLP can undermine peace and re-fuel hostilities.

  • Loss of land and property can have serious consequences for the lives, health and wellbeing of individuals and communities and expose them to various risks. Without access to land, homes and property people are often deprived of their main source of physical and socio-economic security, including shelter, water, and food as well as the ability to earn a sustainable livelihood. Lack of a home or a fixed residence can also restrict people’s access to assistance and services, including education and health care, and limit their access to credit. As a result, displaced persons may suffer increased poverty, marginalization and risk of harassment, exploitation and abuse. Women and children often suffer disproportionately from loss of land, homes and property. Discriminatory laws and practices frequently prevent women and girls from owning, leasing, renting and/or inheriting property. In case of divorce or the death of husbands, fathers or other male relatives, women and girls may be forced to leave their homes, coerced into marriage, or subjected to other harmful practices

  • Housing, land and Property Task Force: The HLP TF, as part of the Afghanistan Protection Cluster direct its focus on the facilitation of a systematic approach to housing, land and property rights protection of displaced population, and other persons at risk of HLP rights violations- this includes landlessness and homeless persons. The HLP-TF aims to achieve its objective by a) improving access to land, b) strengthening security of tenure and adequate housing c) addressing HLP disputes and strengthening access to civils documentation and d) ultimately the durable solutions of the displaced population.

  • Another key focus of the HLP-TF is ensuring legal protection against forced eviction. In 2013 the HLP-TF successfully advocated for the inclusion of the Guidelines for Mitigating Harm and Suffering in Situation of Forced Eviction as an annex to the National IDP Policy (2013). The Guidelines commits the Government to its obligation under international law on the prohibition of forced eviction and three obligations -before, during and after eviction. The HLP-TF thus works on monitoring, preventing and remedying cases of forced evictions.

HLP-TF IMMEDIATE PRIORITIES

  • Emergency interventions for the displaced and host communities in the emergency and protracted settings:

  • HLP Dispute Resolution - counselling and assistance related to the use of statutory and traditional dispute resolution mechanisms, as well as mediation, to resolve cases related to security of tenure, property and land disputes, including access to inheritance rights for women.

  • Provision of Information on HLP - legal training sessions conducted on inheritance law, property law, - HLP rights, durable solutions, land tenure and occupancy certificates, advocacy.

  • Development of the Technical procedure for provision of land to returnees and IDPs together with the Government of Afghanistan:

  • Identification of suitable land for allocation - Beneficiary selection & eligibility criteria - Allocation of land procedures