The Property Rights of Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons: Beyond Restitution explores how the protection of housing and property rights can contribute to durable solutions to displacement. The focus of most of the international communitys recent protection efforts has been on returning displaced persons to their homes following armed conflict. This prioritization has been entrenched further by the 2005 United Nations Principles on Housing and Property Restitution for Refugees and Displaced Persons (the “Pinheiro Principles”). Yet as Anneke Smit chronicles in this book, the international communitys attempts to promote widespread return through establishing housing and property restitution mechanisms have largely failed. Further, this focus on return and restitution of property has come at the expense of supporting effectively local integration and resettlement as possible durable solutions.
This book argues that, particularly in cases of protracted displacement, a range of accepted approaches to the protection of housing and property rights would be preferable. In addition to more than a dozen case studies, the discussion draws throughout on international human rights and refugee law, property law and theory, and sociological and anthropological literature on displacement and the meaning of home. The Property Rights of Refugees and Internally Displaced Personsis based on more than a decade of the authors extensive academic research and practical experience on displacement issues. It will be of considerable interest to those with academic and policy interests in the rights of refugees and displaced persons, and theories of property.