Displacement, HLP and access to civil documentation in the south of the Syrian Arab Republic (July 2017) [EN/AR]



Housing, land and property rights and civil documentation are critical needs of internally displaced people in southern Syria.

This research demonstrates that housing, land and property rights and civil documentation concerns are widespread among IDPs in southern 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

  • Almost 50% of respondents reported that their residence prior to displacement was either destroyed or damaged beyond repair.

  • Only 9% of surveyed households report that they still have their property deed with them and in good condition.

Unsure tenancy situation

  • Only 5% have written tenancy or rental agreements for their current accommodation and only 13% felt sure that their current tenancy arrangement would continue for more than another three months.

  • Almost 25% of households cited forced eviction as a main reason for their re-displacement.

Disputes over informal arrangements are common

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

  • IDPs commonly turn to diverse alternative dispute resolution mechanisms before seeking judicial interventions.

Limited civil documentation compounds vulnerability

  • Only 7% of respondents reported to have access to any new, government-issued civil documentation.

  • Women were particularly vulnerable, lacking alternative identification documents: only around one in fifty women reported possession of a passport, compared to more than one in five men. Women were also less likely than men to have a marriage certificate.

  • Lack of civil documentation was reported as a hindrance to accessing humanitarian aid.

Births go undocumented

  • One quarter of children under five had no formal record of their birth: not in a family booklet, on a birth certificate, or even on a birth notification document.

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