Over the past years of conflict, violations of housing, land and property (HLP) rights have been committed by all parties to the conflict in Syria. In some contexts, these have led to changes in the demographic composition of communities. Since 2011, the Assad regime has enacted a raft of measures to consolidate its control by systematically dispossessing groups or communities it considers a threat to its authority. Today, it continues to punish these groups while simultaneously rewarding loyalists. The structured measures and regulations that violate HLP rights affect millions of refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), as well as political detainees and the missing persons, and their family members. In addition, particular social groups with a history of suffering discrimination in property rights – such as women, Palestinian refugees, and Syrian Kurds – stand to be disproportionately affected.
The international community must take urgent steps to address HLP rights violations and avoid complicity in these crimes, including putting HLP rights at the centre of negotiations for a political settlement, and ensuring that property records are protected, violations investigated, and perpetrators held accountable. Any policy or measure to address HLP abuses must be informed by the needs and demands of affected communities, and must support transformative solutions that address both historical and current HLP issues and end discrimination.
 As defined in the ‘Principles on Housing and Property Restitution for Refugees and Displaced Persons’ (the ‘Pinheiro Principles,’): https://reliefweb.int/report/world/pinheiro-principles-united-nations-principles-housing-and-property-restitution-refugees.