Syrian ownership rights documentation and the challenge of ‘reconstruction’
This paper presents a historical and legal overview of the various formal and informal property ownership types in Syria, and analyses how they are being challenged by current ‘reconstruction’ and legal changes. New requirements for proving ownership are threatening millions of ordinary Syrians’ property rights. This is happening in a context of crisis and displacement, in which armed conflict has damaged or destroyed many properties, forcing many hundreds of thousands of Syrians to flee their homes.
The study aims to highlight possible solutions and potential areas for action on Syrian HLP rights by the international community and the Syrian government. A new legal and political approach is needed. The documents-only approach to HLP claims that the Syrian government has adopted is problematic in the post-conflict environment, where many claimants have only partial, informal, unverifiable and/or irrelevant documentary evidence. A rights-based policy for housing, land, and property rights should be developed in Syria. We focused on action areas including raising awareness about documenting rights, practical information, information and communication technology (ICT) documentation tools for individual and communities, and international advocacy regarding the legal, technical and political dimensions of Syrians’ HLP rights.
This chapter was published as part of the book 'RECLAIMING HOME: The struggle for socially just housing, land and property rights in Syria, Iraq and Libya' , Edited by Hannes Baumann and Published in 2019 by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung’s Regional Project «For Socially Just Development in MENA»