Puntland State of Somalia hosts many IDP populations who have been displaced for more than ten years. The IDPs reside in temporary settlements, usually without security of tenure and at constant risk of forced eviction.
There have been a number of initiatives in the past year to allocate land to resettle IDPs and in some instances IDPs have purchased land themselves. Secure land tenure is an important step toward integration and the achievement of a durable solution, especially for those IDPs who will remain in their area of displacement for the long term.
“The Information, Counselling and Legal Assistance (ICLA) team maintains a daily presence in the IDP settlements. An emergency hotline and call centre has been established with ICLA staff providing callers with practical information and linking them to service centres.There are plans to expand the rapid response service in order to mitigate disputes on the spot by third party intervention and mediation, witnessing and referral support for the parties involved to take their issues to the most appropriate authorities”, says Steve Ndikumwenayo, ICLA Project Coordinator in Puntland.
The study found that although a wide range of local dispute resolution avenues existed – namely municipal authorities, customary courts, sharia law, statutory courts and non-governmental organisations (NGO) initiated collaborative dispute resolution services – these were largely unable to prevent evictions. These institutions and mechanisms were ineffective in preventing evictions because IDPs were not generally given any notice period and evicted with immediate effect making it impossible for them to challenge the eviction.
The study suggests that eviction prevention may be more effective than dispute resolution in safeguarding IDP land tenure. It recommends that NRC and partners support a wide range of prevention mechanisms including the formation of informal landlord-tenant platforms or forums for awareness raising and training for landlords and gatekeepers.
These could later develop into more formal associations depending upon the interests and needs of the participants. Activities for such platforms could include the development of a landlord charter and standards, a certification process for prospective landlords and the piloting of an eviction insurance scheme.
The report “Displacement and Housing, Land and Property Disputes in Puntland” is a result of studies comprising of a desk review of available literature on HLP and a field mission to Garowe and Bossaso in Puntland conducted in December 2014. The study also builds on information available from NRC’s information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA) programme in the region.