Land Policy in Post-Conflict Circumstances: Some Lessons from East Timor


Fitzpatrick, Daniel. 2012. “Land Policy in Post-Conflict Circumstances: Some Lessons from East Timor.” Journal of Humanitarian Assistance, Forthcoming, online

Author: Daniel Fitzpatrick


In the wake of adverse assessments of UN peace-building missions in Kosovo and Sierra Leone, the Report of the Panel on UN Peace Operations ("the Brahimi Report") was commissioned to consider UN peacekeeping and related field operations. Its recommendations range widely from the structure and role of various UN agencies, including the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, to the importance of "clear, credible and achievable" mandates. Most relevantly, for our purposes, the Brahimi Report recommends development of "peace-building strategies" (para. 2 (c)), including pre-selecting collegiate "rule of law" teams consisting inter alia of judicial and human rights specialists (para. 10).

Although little further detail is given, the assumption underlying these last recommendations is that, despite the variety of circumstances in which there will be UN peace-building missions, it is possible to develop in advance certain strategies, and pre-select specialist rule of law teams, so that future peace-building efforts may be facilitated. This article considers this assumption in relation to land policy in post-conflict circumstances. It does so by analysing UNTAET’s land policy in the immediate aftermath of the conflict in East Timor; and it argues, in particular, that lessons from the successes and failures of this policy may be applied to generate certain recommendations for template land strategies in other peace-building and post-conflict environments.

Keywords: land, title, East Timor, post-conflict, land policy

Topics: Development, Humanitarian Assistance, International Organizations, Peacebuilding, Peacekeeping, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Rights, Human Rights, Land Rights Regions: Oceania Countries: Timor-Leste

Year: 2012

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