Upcoming TN guest-postings in early 2012

Early 2012 has brought a bumper crop of guest postings that I will aim to spread out over the next weeks. Many of these postings address controversial questions or put forward considered and well-founded but debatable (and debated) assertions, so I would welcome readers to engage with them, comment on them and even be moved to guest-post themselves.

First out will be Sebastian Albuja, who is the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) country analyst for Colombia, and has previously guest-posted on the country’s new restitution framework here and here. This time, Sebastian will introduce the IDMC’s recently updated profile of internal displacement in Colombia and discuss the implications – both positive and negative – of the strong role the country’s Constitutional Court has taken in setting criteria for determining when displacement there can be said to have ended.

Also in the next days, Anneke Smit and Gloria Huh of the University of Windsor Law School will provide a short piece summarizing recent debates in Canada over property and housing for indigenous peoples as well as links to further sources of information. As described in a recent article in the Globe and Mail,  proposals to facilitate private property ownership on First Nations’ reserves have sparked significant discussion and controversy.

Shaun Williams, the Land and Natural Resources Governance Adviser for the World Bank’s Justice for the Poor Program, will be guest-posting on the governance of disputed ‘public land’ in post-colonial countries, an issue of particular significance in urban areas characterized by high development pressures. The posting will build on research undertaken in the Solomon Islands.

In addition, Rachael Knight will present the results of a project on Community Land Titling that she managed for the International Development Law Organization (IDLO), summarizing a set of recently released reports related to experiences in Liberia, Mozambique and Uganda. Rachael was also a contributor to the study on customary justice presented by IDLO Senior Rule of Law Advisor Erica Harper in a guest-posting last November.

Christopher Aston, who works at Coffey International Development with the Governance, Security and Justice team, will be guest-posting with some of the key conclusions of his 2011 master’s thesis at the  Irish Centre for Human Rights:

The piece will discuss the rights-based approach to peacebuilding and its value to protecting vulnerable and marginalised groups and emphasising a state’s obligations regarding their welfare and providing remedies for violations.  Whilst there has been little progress in treating economic, social and cultural abuses as violations of human rights and providing a legal remedy, property restitution based on the right to return to one’s home of origin and the right to a legal remedy is an exception.

Land and property issues figure prominently in conflict and a rights-based approach to these issues can contribute to peacebuilding including, supporting the rule of law, IDP and refugee returns, protection of vulnerable groups and reconciliation.  The piece will look at the role of land and property issues in the Kosovo Conflict and the contribution and limits of a rights-based approach to these issues and particularly property restitution to peacebuilding in the country.

And, in early February, Christopher Thornton will blog on some of the main findings of his 2011 masters thesis from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies which is shortly to be published as part of the Institute’s e-paper series:

It is considered axiomatic that justice and property restitution are inextricably linked. However, this link is far from universal and indeed highly context-specific. In order to better understand the justice implications of property restitution it is important to interrogate the philosophical ideals which are at the foundation of this “right” and consider how property restitution looks through different philosophical lenses. The forthcoming guest post will consider property restitution through both corrective and distributive justice paradigms. We will see how these very different perspectives imply very different things about the justice of property restitution.

To read these postings, see:

Rachael Knight
– Empowering communities to document and protect their land claims: A solution to the global land grab? (19 July 2012)

Christopher Thornton
– Pinheiro and the political philosophers: Achieving justice through post-conflict property restitution (06 March 2012)

Sebastián Albuja
– Judicial oversight and the end of displacement in Colombia (12 January 2012)
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