In the aftermath of many natural disasters, property rights and regulatory issues have constituted important obstacles to the rapid and equitable provision of shelter solutions to persons whose homes have been damaged or destroyed. In particular, there is often a dilemma about how and where to house persons who lacked documented legal title to the homes in which they lived prior to a disaster. Renters sometimes receive lesser and slower assistance than property-owners. Property owners are sometimes hesitant to allow even temporary use of their properties for settlement, when this might interfere with more profitable uses of the land.
While the humanitarian community has been putting increasing work in recent years to prepare itself to deal with housing land and property rights issues, the IFRC felt that these questions have not been adequately highlighted to states. To address this, it raised the issue before the state parties to the Geneva Conventions at the 31st International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in November 2011.
Find out about the outcome of the 31st International Conference here.
Background paper to 31st International Conference
Expert meeting (20 July 2011)