Structuring land restitution remedies for peace and stability in fragile states.

Pacific Middle East, North Africa, East Africa,
McGill University
Syria Ukraine, Iraq,

Large-scale dislocation of populations due to land expropriations and armed conflictpresent significant difficulties for political stability and food security in fragile states.With increased use of mass claims programs by the international community andgovernments in order to attend to the problem, attention is focusing on what works.While organizing mass claims programs is challenging, the real difficulty is derivingremedies that are realistic, effective, implementable, and that fit the wide variety of circumstances that people, communities and nations find themselves. Although the temptation can be to simply transfer specific remedies from from one country to another, in reality these can be difficult to implement with success in places with different cultures; histories; grievances; aspirations and ethnic, sectarian, religious and class divisions. This paper argues that what is more important is the 'structure' of remedy approaches and how these can be adapted to local and national realities. As well, the necessity of any mass claims program to navigate constraints involving inadequate compensation funds, a lack of alternative lands for reparation, a low capacity administrative environment and a variable willingness to evict current occupants, means that such structures need to be flexible, permutable, and adaptable. This review examines the restitution remedy structures that fit these requirements, and that have been successfully implemented in a variety of land and property mass claims programs.

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