SOHR | ‘Protection and Management of Absentees’ Properties Act’ infringes the rights of Syrians “
The Syrian Observatory continues monitoring and tracking, with deep concern, the repercussions of the ‘Protection and Management of Absentees’ Properties Act’ infringes the rights of Syrians’ issued by the Autonomous Administration in northern and eastern Syria.
We, at the Syrian Observatory, express our rejection of this law, as it violates all civil and criminal laws concerning the preservation of humans rights to own and use the property belonging to them , especially since the Autonomous Administration claims that the aim of this law is to protect the properties which belong to people who live abroad and have no relatives in Syria.
The law constitutes a flagrant violation to the legislations related to inheritance, since it identifies absentee as “every person with Syrian nationality or of those denied or deprived of citizenship, who lives outside Syria and has no first-degree or second-degree relatives in Syria”. When the real owner dies, the rightful heirs in or outside Syria will face major obstacles in terms of getting their rights, according to the letters of the recently-issued law.
The issuance of this law by the Autonomous Administration to control private properties looks like what is happening in countries whose authorities illegally take over private properties or nationalize them under the pretext of appropriation in the public interest. Such actions violate international laws, social, religious and positive legalizations which organise the mechanism of appropriation and the rights to sell and purchase properties.
According to the recent law, a special commission of 11 officials will be formed to manage the properties of the absentees with a task of protecting these properties from being attacked or seized. However, the law has stated no terms concerning the protection of these properties from the commission itself and its possible abuses, which may lead to loss of these properties, underestimation of their value or damage they may face.
SOHR believes that granting this commission the authority to rent out and utilise private properties or to put them in the services of the “society development”, deprives the real owners from revenues which they can obtain, should they themselves decide to rent out or sells their own properties without having to be present in Syria. The law’s terms show the Autonomous Administration’s clear intention to take over financial revenues which duly belong individuals owning buildings, land and real estates; this also means that the law aims to seize and confiscate private properties not protect as it claims.
It is not the first attempt by the Autonomous Administration to take over private properties, as the “Legislative Council” in Al-Jazeera region issued a similar law in late 2015, which faced severe criticisms of attempting to seize the absentees’ properties illegally.
We, at the Syrian Observatory, express our opposition to and rejection of any law or decree being drafted with the purpose of changing the state of a private or individual property in order to seize them or take over potential revenues that may come through leasing or selling . We also call upon the Autonomous Administration to withdraw or annul such laws and respect the ownership and private property rights. What the Autonomous Admiration is doing currently does not differ much from what the regime authorities are doing in terms of seizing private properties if their rightful owners are absentees.