Last June, I posted on an inquiry about post-conflict occupation of public property in Iraq that was doing the rounds in a rule of law discussion forum on the US Institute of Peace’s International Network to Promote the Rule of Law (INPRoL) website. Since that time, I was asked to work on a ‘consolidated response’ to the query that took into account the various comments posted in response to the original query.
The result can be accessed on the INPRoL site. Below is a copy of the abstract:
This consolidated response reviews three human rights – freedom of movement, privacy, and adequate housing, as well as development standards on evictions, all of which emphasize the need to take all feasible steps to diminish the hardship to vulnerable groups resulting from evictions. It then describes a three factor balancing test, based on the human rights principles and development standards, which Iraq can utilize to ensure its practices adhere to international law and best practices. It is hoped that the presentation of this approach will be of assistance to the Iraqi authorities in identifying the most appropriate policies for addressing the issue of occupation of public property in a manner compatible with both international law and Iraq’s social and economic realities.
It was interesting writing the response as it confirmed my impression that human rights and development standards on evictions are fairly closely conceptually related even if they differ in their details and rarely reference each other. In making my recommendations, I tried to build on what I saw as synergies and encourage governments (well, in this case the Iraqi government) to give both sets of standards the weight they deserve.