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Documents, General Corruption, Land & Real Estate

Landgovernance.org report Apr. 2011 – #Yemen – Sheiks stand to benefit from government land allocations and transfers to third parties

Obscured by the ongoing and escalating political violence in Yemen much more structural andinsidious conflict is taking place related to land and water (SAS, 2010). Eighty percent of disputes in Yemen are land-related (USAID, 2010).The country does not have a system for authenticating title deeds and land documents (formalor customary), a condition that creates space for fraud and results in land disputes. Landconveyance is subject to corrupt practices and thus the land registry is not able to arbitrateconflicting claims and can end up formalizing conflicting claims rather than resolve them(Small Arms Survey, 2010, World Bank 2007; MPWH 2010).Very few Yemenis seek the formal legal system for the resolution of land issues. The lack of capacity, administrative support, poorly trained staff and judges translates into adysfunctional system and widespread corruption. The system is also dominated by men. Mostland and water disputes are settled bysheikhs, in their role as conflict mediators, in the traditional forum. In such setting customary law (urf or shar) is applied in an approachcentered on conciliatory dispute-resolution (World Bank 2007; ROY MPWH 2010; Manea 2010;ROY 2002a). It is therefore important to strengthen local and traditional conflict resolutionbodies for alternative dispute resolution particularly on water access and use

There is increasing conflict over water resources (Small Arms Survey, 2010). Communal lands are increasingly at risk of appropriation. Land grabs need to be monitored and dealt with. The multiple roles of Sheikhs, wielding considerable power, means there have been incidents of sheikhs violating their fiduciary role by selling off communal land or transferring land for their personal use. The formalization of the role of sheikhs has actually weakened the traditional dispute-resolution system because communities lost their right to remove a sheikh from office. Now that the sheikhs are within government residents are less likely to challenge their decisions. It also has meant that sheikhs have lost their presumed neutrality because they stand to benefit from government land allocations and transfers to third parties (WorldBank 2007, MPWH 2010)

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Exposing the corruption in Yemen


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