The Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) just released a new Policy Brief on “Landmines and Land Rights in Conflict Affected Countries”. The Brief is based on case studies undertaken in Angola, Cambodia, Bosnia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka and Yemen (also available for download with the Angola and Cambodia reports to be posted by the end of January).
The report admonishes de-mining agencies for past failures to understand the local implications of their work, and encourages them to actively coordinate with humanitarian and development actors working with displaced populations and land issues:
Mine action organisations are not neutral when it comes to land rights. Releasing land which was previously contaminated with landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) and making it accessible changes its status. This inevitably involves land rights issues, even if the intent is to avoid them.
The report is a timely attempt to apply the type of conflict-sensitive, do no harm approach now commonplace to other humanitarian aid sectors in the heretofore somewhat distinct area of demining. I am therefore very happy to announce that its primary author, Jon Unruh, will be guest-posting on some of the report’s key findings in the coming days. Stay tuned!