Accusations of irregularities during the December 2007 elections in Kenya sparked widespread violence. Over 1,000 people were killed and as many as 600,000 displaced from their homes. Apart from the immediate humanitarian implications, the economic cost of the crisis is put at around $1.5bn. Jobs have been lost, and people have not been able to harvest or cultivate their farms. Central to both past and current upheavals have been long-standing disputes over land ownership. This HPG paper explores the role that land issues have played in the current crisis, and why it is essential that humanitarian actors understand these issues as they seek to assist displaced populations and facilitate the process of return or resettlement.