Displacement causes an abrupt disruption in the normal lives of affected communities, who become exposed to new risks. One of these risks is the potential loss of home and dispossession of the land they leave behind.  

In protracted displacement situations, many people are forced to start over in a new location. In order to be able to rebuild their lives, they need to have the confidence that they will not be further displaced or evicted. People living in the shadow of eviction struggle to plan for their future.  

In these contexts, certainty that one will not be evicted – also known as security of tenure – is critical.  

Security of tenure, which has been adopted in the latest Sphere Standards, asserts that humanitarian actors should achieve as much legal certainty about tenure as possible, given the context and constraints. In its emergency response work, IOM programming ensures that security of tenure is considered and strengthened for all those affected.  

Land and Property Restitution and Reparations 

The restoration of housing, land and property (HLP) rights plays a prominent role in reconciliation, peacebuilding and reconstruction efforts for countries transitioning out of crises.   

The absence of just and effective settlement of crisis-induced HLP grievances creates fertile ground for communal and societal tensions and protracted crisis and violence.   

IOM is committed to sensitizing international and national actors to the centrality of land issues in post-conflict and post-disaster environments by providing policy guidance, expert advice, and technical assistance to restore HLP rights including restitution.  

The Organization, as an impartial broker, assists governments and societies to address land and property issues to prevent future forced migration and to allow for durable solutions to address ongoing displacement. This is done by identifying and eliminating land-related barriers to sustainable return and reintegration, increasing the in-depth understanding of governments and communities of the different facets of these issues and clarifying land ownership and tenure. 

IOM also adheres to the Pinheiro Principles which were designed to provide practical guidance to States, UN agencies and the broader international community on how best to address the complex legal and technical issues surrounding housing, land and property restitution.