Conflict often causes dramatic changes to a country’s land tenure regime and administration, threatening land rights even when the conflict has ended. Therefore land rights in conflict and post-conflict contexts are an increasing area of concern.

Secure land rights are a critical issue when it comes to humanitarian response, sustainable peacebuilding and longer-term economic recovery, particularly in countries where a significant proportion of the population relies on agriculture as their main source of livelihood.

Landmines and other remnants of war typically block access to agricultural land, public services (such as schools and clinics), markets and infrastructure. However, it is important to realise that releasing previously inaccessible land in conflict-affected contexts changes its status and value and can have negative, unintended consequences. It is crucial therefore that mine action organisations ensure that their operations do not create or exacerbate land-related conflict.

Mine warning on the side of the road in Azerbaijan
Families in Cambodia, where a land rights study was conducted

To ensure that mine action organisations can better address land issues as part of their programming, the GICHD publishes practical research and tools on the issue. It also provides practical support to mine action and armed violence reduction organisations on how to address land issues in a conflict-sensitive manner.

This support includes:

  • support and assessment, including a technical assessment of land issues
  • training field staff
  • a review of the standard operating procedures and the national standards
  • raising donor awareness