Syrian civil organizations call for United Nations to find solution to problem of Syrians’ loss of official documents

Internally displaced people (IDPs) in Syria - 12 March 2018 (Reuters)

Internally displaced people (IDPs) in Syria - 12 March 2018 (Reuters)


Syrian civil organizations have filed a complaint to three United Nations (UN) special rapporteurs regarding the loss of many Syrians of their official documents due to the ongoing war in Syria for about ten years and the resulting consequences.

The complaint was filed by the Syrians for Truth and Justice (STJ), The Day After (TDA), and the Justice for Life (JFL) organizations on 8 October to three special rapporteurs in the UN.

The complaint was filed to find a radical solution to the problems caused by the loss of proof of ownership papers and their effects on Syrian displaced persons in particular.

The complaint asked the relevant political parties, mainly the UN and the Syrian regime government, to address the loss of official documents problem. It also demanded these parties to take real effective steps to resolve the difficulties faced by Syrian displaced persons due to this problem.

The complaint stressed the need to guarantee the rights of displaced people outlined in the International Bill of Human Rights. It also called for pressuring all Syrian conflict parties to immediately cease all illegal practices against civilians, namely, confiscating their property and refusing to issue them legal documents.

The organizations pointed out that the indiscriminate bombing operations that hit civilian targets in many Syrian governorates forced about seven million Syrians to leave their regions inside Syria.

The organizations indicated that many internally displace Syrians do not have civil legal documents, such as the personal identity (ID) card, the family book, and the birth and death certificates.

According to the complaint, the confiscation of these documents by security and military checkpoints was one of the main factors that led to their loss.

The organizations said that the long years of the Syrian war, the high financial cost for obtaining alternative official documents, and the risks associated with the use of documents issued by the opposition forces outside their areas of authority, prevented many of the civilian transactions such as marriage and divorce from being legally registered.

The complaint also mentioned that due to the official documents’ problem, many Syrians were unable to obtain birth certificates for their newborns, which has resulted in thousands of stateless children, deprived of their right to education.

In addition, the loss of documents deprives their owners of housing, land and property rights, the right to freedom of movement, participation in political life, and the receipt of humanitarian aids.

The Syrian conflict has led to significant losses and damages to housing and property, including both urban and rural areas, but at varying rates. The losses have been particularly visible in areas that have witnessed years of military confrontations, such as the cities and towns of the Eastern Ghouta, Homs, Aleppo, Idlib, and others, and those that have been affected by indiscriminate shelling by barrel bombs and unguided weapons.

The ongoing war situation in Syria has caused millions of Syrians to lose their official documents proving their ownership of their properties, especially after many real estate records in several places were damaged or partially or completely destroyed.

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