The interaction between landmine clearance and land rights in Angola: a volatile outcome of non-integrated peacebuilding.

McGill University

The current approach to peacebuilding by the international community is to focus on the priorities thought to be important to recovery, but this occurs in a largely non-integrated way. With these different endeavors largely isolated from each other in planning, analysis, implementation, and measures for success, little is known about how they interact and whether or not the aggregate effect contributes to, or detracts from durable peace. This is especially important for priorities which in some way interact with each other on the ground among a recipient population. Two of these priorities for recovery, landmine clearance and land rights, while taking place on the same lands at the same time, and for the same people, are regarded separately as crucial to postwar recovery, and their interaction has not yet been examined. This article looks at these two priorities for Angola, and finds in their interaction a number of ways in which they detract from durable peace. This is a result of, 1) the role of areas adjacent to mine contaminated locations, 2) land grabbing, 3) the actions and role of the State, 4) the problematic interaction between different sectors involved in recovery, 5) the ongoing return of refugee and internal dislocatees and their (re)settlement, and 6) the lack of awareness of land tenure issues on the part of ‘mine action’ organizations. Subsequent to an examination of these forms of interaction this article looks at possible ways forward, focusing on, 1) the derivation of a form of ‘forced transparency’ as a deterrent to land grabbing, 2) enhancing the utility of ‘land release’ within the mine action community, 3) linkage of the different sectors concerned with mine action and land rights, and 4) the role than donors of mine action can play. 

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