Land Administration Systems: Underpinning the Human Rights Perspective

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Land administration systems are the operational tool for conceptualizing rights, restrictions and responsibilities (RRRs) in land. Each of the rights, restrictions and responsibilities encompasses a human rights dimension that relates to the overall national land policies and should be unfolded as more than just rhetoric. This paper attempts to analyse the aspects of human rights in relation to land administration systems with a special focus on developing countries struggling to build adequate systems for governing the rights, restrictions and responsibilities in land.

Human rights are the rights inherent to all human beings without discrimination. The “constitution” of human rights is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UN, 1948) stating the universal rights of human beings based on the principle of respect for the individual – rights that can be enjoyed by everyone simple because of being alive. Of special interest in relation to land and property is the right to own things and the right of food and adequate housing for all. More generally, human rights should be seen as an ethical responsibility of government to ensure that people enjoy some basic rights as human beings. This relates to national political arrangements and standards for good governance and land administration systems are highly instrumental in this regard.

This paper introduces the relation between land administration and human rights. It is argued that human rights and land administration are closely linked and that every country and jurisdiction needs to ensure that efficient and effective land administration mechanisms are in place to pursue this interaction. Land administration systems should embed a human rights perspective when managing rights, restrictions and responsibilities in land. This, in turn, imposes a huge challenge and also ethical and social responsibility on the land professionals.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEngaging the Challenges - Enhancing the Relevance: FIG XXV Congress 2014, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Number of pages14
PublisherInternational Federation of Surveyors
Publication date2014
Article number7208
ISBN (Electronic)978-87-92853-21-9
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventEngaging the Challenge, Enhancing the Relevance: XXV FIG Congress 2014 - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Duration: 16 Jun 201421 Jun 2014


ConferenceEngaging the Challenge, Enhancing the Relevance
CityKuala Lumpur


  • Land Administration Systems
  • Human Rights

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