The recommendations detailed below are targeted at international humanitarian and development actors and donors, based on the main findings of the research. A full set of detailed recommendations is presented at the end of the report. Country-specific recommendations are included in each of the country studies.
Closing the gap between law and practice – working with customary and religious authorities
- Programmes to address HLP issues should be funded and implemented in the initial stages of emergency response. Donors should provide flexible funding for longer-term engagement, supporting women’s access to justice for HLP issues from the beginning of humanitarian interventions, through transition to the rule of law.
- Humanitarian and development funding should support legal assistance for displaced women to engage with all forms of dispute resolution mechanisms available to them at the local level – including customary, religious and statutory processes.
- Humanitarian and development actors should support government and local authorities to ensure that statutory law provisions promoting equal HLP rights for women are applied by customary and religious dispute resolution mechanisms. This should include training of customary authorities and religious leaders to increase their knowledge of statutory law and strengthen their collaborative dispute resolution skills.
- Programmes supporting legal empowerment for displaced women should incorporate complementary services, such as the provision of information, legal counselling, representation and mediation so that the full range of options for resolution of disputes can be understood by women. This will enable them to determine the process that is most appropriate for their situation.
Challenging social norms and removing practical barriers
- HLP and rule of law actors should take into account the social consequences that women face when they claim HLP rights, including the increased risk of violence. These considerations should be incorporated into project planning and monitoring and evaluation processes carried out by humanitarian organisations and required by donors.
- International organisations should refrain from documenting and registering HLP assets only in the name of male heads of household. The registration of tenure rights in joint or multiple names, including of women, should be the standard procedure.
- Legal assistance providers and rule of law actors should design programmes that address the practical barriers that women face in accessing justice resulting from their socio-economic disadvantage, illiteracy and lack of awareness of rights.
- Humanitarian and development actors should incorporate more legal literacy and rights awareness campaigns in project programming. This means adapting training materials, location and timing of training and advisory services to be accessible for women.
- Programmes that focus on awareness-raising should also be accompanied by the provision of support through individual counselling (legal advice) followed by the option of legal assistance if women decide to claim their rights.