Simple land registration form assists tsunami vict

Published: Fri 9 Dec 2005 09:30 AM
Simple land registration form assists tsunami victims
Banda Aceh, December 8th – Victims of the tsunami who have not been able to access housing support because they could not prove ownership of their land can now use a simple leaflet as a temporary land deed.
The inability of many victims to prove land ownership, either because their deeds were swept away by the wave or because their land wasn’t actually registered, has proved a major stumbling block to the reconstruction effort. The leaflet, which explains housing rights and entitlements to victims, also contains a form which, when filled in and signed by local officials, can legally be used as a temporary land deed.
Developed by UNDP and UN-HABITAT along with World Bank Land Administration Programme (RALAS) on behalf of BRR (the local government agency overseeing reconstruction), the leaflet spells out the rights of the victims as well as the obligations of the Government to meet the needs of the victims. The leaflet also explains the critical steps to obtain assistance.
The first stage is for communities to establish a land rights committee, and discuss the issue of land ownership together so they can collectively agree who owns which area of land and organize basic land planning in a participatory manner. Then victims simply draw a sketch of their land plot, obtains signatures from neighbours as witnesses and obtain acknowledgements of the local community leaders. In order to speed up the process of issuing land titles, which will be provided free of charge, the beneficiaries are requested not to move the land boundaries already agreed upon by the community and the local village leaders.
The committee, along with the local community, can then file a proposal to BRR which will forward it to implementation partners for execution. However, the community is also entitled to directly submit the proposed reconstruction plan to non-governmental organizations in order to expedite the process.
“The inability of tsunami affected communities to prove land ownership, and their lack of understanding of how to obtain assistance have both been major stumbling blocks in the reconstruction effort,” said Simon Field, Team Leader UNDP Banda Aceh. “It is also vital that they are properly informed about their rights so they can make the best choices for their future. This leaflet serves both roles.”
Together, the agencies have been distributing 100.000 leaflets directly to victims, in addition the construction of several thousand houses by UN-Habitat. “The UN agencies keep on working hard with BRR to assist displaced people. We are glad that we can reach out here by giving people adequate information on their rights to entitlements and to a fair process to get new houses,” said Bruno Dercon, Housing Policy Advisor at UN-Habitat. “UN-Habitat is building close to 5,000 housing units in 5 districts, but it also helps with policies and information which enable people to have a stronger voice when rebuilding their own settlements.”
The Government of Indonesia, in close cooperation with the international funding agencies, is preparing a special programme to help victims who have lost their land as well as renters who lost their accommodation as a result of the earthquakes and the tsunami.

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