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Global Protection Cluster

Housing, Land and Property
The Issue

Housing, land and property rights are about having a home, free from the fear of forced eviction; a place that offers shelter, safety and the ability to secure livelihood opportunities. HLP includes the full spectrum of rights to housing, land and property held according to statutory or customary law or informally — both public and private housing, land and/or property assets. Land rights are rights held to both land and natural resources. HLP rights are held by owners, tenants, cooperative dwellers, customary land tenure owners and users, and informal sector dwellers without secure tenure. Since the early 1990s humanitarians have called attention to the importance of HLP rights in providing durable solutions for both IDPs and refugees. From a human rights perspective, the concept of HLP is essential to ensure the protection of people in all these categories. Access to HLP rights is foundational to socio-economic inclusion and an essential steppingstone for displaced people to rebuild their lives.

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It is crucial to address HLP issues in humanitarian interventions from the onset as well as integrate them in peacebuilding and development programs in order to protect the HLP rights of displaced people. If HLP issues (including associated regulatory barriers) are not addressed from the outset of an emergency they can undermine the entire humanitarian response and exclude the most vulnerable. The guidance note Integrating Housing, Land and Property issues into Key Humanitarian, Transitional and Development Processes identifies possible entry points to integrate HLP issues in planning processes, thereby facilitating due consideration of HLP issues in responses.

Access Essential HLP tools and guidance here

Common HLP issues in emergencies include tenure discrimination leading to inequitable assistance; loss of HLP documentation; disputed access to land for shelter and livelihoods; establishing access to natural resources, such as water; land and property conflicts; forced evictions; secondary occupation;
land grabbing; restitution; and disinheritance, particularly of women and children.

HLP rights are referenced and defined in several international human rights instruments which include universally recognized human rights, particularly the right to adequate housing. Organizations providing protection and assistance to persons affected by disasters and conflict should respect the human rights — including HLP rights — of affected persons at all times, and advocate for their promotion and protection to the fullest extent.



HLP in Emergencies

Access Essential HLP tools and guidance here

This short animation focuses on Housing, Land and Property (HLP) in emergencies, presenting some of the issues commonly faced, and stressing the importance of considering HLP when planning and implementing humanitarian interventions. The video is available in English, Amharic, Arabic, French, Portuguese, Somali, and Spanish. Further information can be found at

The HLP in Shelter Programs Mobile Guide is a 10-minute mobile phone content that focuses on how to effectively engage with HLP issues in emergencies. This includes verifying and securing tenure to prevent disputes and establishing long lasting solutions for communities affected by conflict and disasters. The mobile guide was developed in coordination with the Global Shelter Cluster and can be accessed here (requires registration).



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The Approach

Global level coordination

The Global Housing, Land and Property Area of Responsibility (HLP AoR) has the overarching goal to support a more systematic approach to addressing HLP issues on the ground; by promoting collaboration and complementarity of efforts amongst agencies undertaking HLP activities and by addressing gaps in policy and technical area.

It has three strategic objectives that serve this goal:

  1. Improved global support to HLP coordination and response.
  2. Enhanced global attention to HLP through donor engagement, advocacy, and HLP inclusion across clusters.
  3. Improved HLP AoR governance and resilience.

In line with the Principles of Partnership, the HLP AoR operates as an open and inclusive forum with the view to benefit from the wide range of expertise within the HLP community of practice. Currently led by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and UN-Habitat, the membership of the HLP AoR includes UN agencies, NGOs, research and academic institutions, donors, human rights and development agencies, and representatives of other AoRs and global clusters. If you are interested in learning more or contributing to the HLP AoR, please contact the Global HLP AoR Coordinator (contacts below).

The centrality of protection within durable solutions for displacement-affected communities is exemplified in the struggle that vulnerable groups face to claim and enjoy their HLP rights. Without the protection of HLP rights, durable solutions will remain an elusive concept, not grounded in reality.


Country level HLP coordination

At a country/operation level, the HLP AoR is represented through HLP working groups. These working groups facilitate the coordination of specialist HLP interventions and ensure that HLP issues are effectively considered in other relevant humanitarian sectors.

Currently, there are active country level HLP coordination groups in: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, CAR, DRC, Ethiopia, Iraq, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, oPt, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, Yemen. Further groups are planned for 2022-23.  For more information about any of these, please contact the Global HLP AoR Coordinator.

The Housing, Land and Property (HLP) Area of Responsibility

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has been leading the Housing, Land and Property Area of Responsibility (HLP AoR) since 2016. From 2023, NRC has been joined by UN-Habitat, with both organisations now co-leading the HLP AoR. Contact details for the Co-coordinators can be found below. Globally, the membership of the HLP AoR includes UN agencies, NGOs, research and academic institutions, donors, human rights and development agencies, and representatives of other AoRs and global clusters.


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Global Coordination Team

Jim Robinson

Co-Coordinator - Global Housing, Land and Property Area of Responsibility (HLP AoR)
Norwegian Refugee Council

Ombretta Tempra

Co-Coordinator - Global Housng, Land and Property Area of Responsibility (HLP AoR)