Displacement, housing, land and property and access to civil documentation in the north west of the Syrian Arab Republic (July 2017) [EN/AR]

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Housing, land and property (HLP) rights and civil documentation are critical needs of internally displaced people (IDPs) in north west Syria.

This research demonstrates that HLP rights and civil documentation concerns are widespread among IDPs in north west Syria and a foundational concern for the entire humanitarian response. The findings further provide a bleak outlook for early recovery and development efforts given the scale and degree of destruction reported.

Weak protection of property left behind

• 41 per cent of respondents reported that their residence prior to displacement was either destroyed or damaged beyond repair.

• Only 25 per cent of surveyed households who had a property deed reported that it was still with them in good condition and only 30 per cent who had a court decision as proof of property ownership reported that they still had it with them in good condition.

Insecure tenancy

• Only 26 per cent of households reported having a written agreement for their current accommodation and only 15 per cent felt sure that they could remain in their current accommodation for three more months if they wanted to.

• 11 per cent of households cited forced eviction and 92 per cent cited security reasons as a main reason for their re-displacement in the past 12 months.

Disputes over inheritance and ownership/ rental disputes were the most common

• Inheritance and disputes over ownership and rental and hosting arrangements were reported as the most common cause of HLP-related disputes.

• IDPs commonly used a range of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to resolve HLP disputes.

Limited civil documentation compounds vulnerability

• Only six per cent of respondents reported having current access to government-issued civil documentation.

• Lack of civil documentation was reported as a hindrance to accessing humanitarian aid, education and to exercising freedom of movement.

Births go undocumented, youths have no proof of identity

• 51 per cent of children under five years old were not listed in the family booklet and 13 per cent of children under five years old had no proof of any kind of their birth.

• Youths who turned 14 during the conflict – the age at which they would normally apply for a national identity (ID) card – were found to be at particular risk of having no national identity document.