Online side event: For peace and justice tomorrow, address property rights today

Image: Photo Bo Yaser/Wikimedia

March 11, 2021

There is growing recognition among Syrians and the international community that unaddressed challenges to property rights and the impediments they pose to the return of refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) have become major obstacles to peace and justice in Syria. 

In 2020, the Brussels IV Conference co-chairs called for “respect for housing, land and property rights, including notably for women, [and] further stressed that housing, land and property rights and their restitution are a core factor for the rebuilding of Syrian society. These are a cornerstone for ensuring society’s stability and enabling Syrians to plan for a future life together in peace and dignity.”

Impunity Watch, PEL – Civil Waves and PAX invite you to the online side event to the Brussels V Conference on “Supporting the future of Syria and the region,” at 15.00 CET on Thursday 18 March 2021:

Affected communities speak out: For peace and justice tomorrow, address property rights today

This side event, featuring an all-Syrian panel of civil society and affected community representatives, will highlight key developments regarding HLP rights violations in Syria since Brussels IV, give a forum for the experiences and demands of communities targeted or disproportionately affected by HLP rights violations, and make practical recommendations to conference delegates to address past and ongoing HLP rights violations and prevent further abuses occurring.

Please RSVP here by 5pm CET on Wednesday, 17 March 2021. Prior registration is required to attend. Joining instructions will follow via email. Simultaneous interpretation will be provided between English and Arabic.


Abdullah al-Khatib, Palestinian-Syrian activist and social researcher based in Germany. Winner of the Per Anger Prize for Human Rights from the Government of Sweden in 2016. Al-Khatib has worked as a trainer on social participation, development and citizenship issues in several centres inside Syria. He is the co-founder of the Watad Center of Training and Development in southern Damascus and Sard, a literary blog concerning revolutionary Syrian memory and literature. He has also appeared in the credits of many documentaries. Abdullah will present initial findings from a participatory from a participatory research project on the property rights of Palestinians in Yarmouk Camp, Damascus.

Ferhad Ahma, Kurdish-Syrian activist and translator based in Germany. He worked previously in the media and the synchronization of documentaries. He is co-founder and director of PÊL – Civil Waves, a civic organization promoting social cohesion, youth and women empowerment in northeastern Syria. PÊL is also documenting violations of HLP rights in northeastern Syria. Ahma was previously an elected member of the city council in Berlin-Mitte. Ferhad will present initial findings from another participatory research project to document property ownership and residence in Ras al-Ayn/Serekaniye in Hasakeh governorate.

Lama Sulaiman, Palestinian-Syrian architect. Based in Germany and currently pursuing her master’s degree in urban planning at the Technical University of Stuttgart, with focus on utilizing urban planning for peace making in the post conflict in Syria. She also took an active part in designing an emergency accommodation for refugees in Bayreuth/Germany in 2015. In addition to practicing architecture, she participated in different projects and workshops concerning the living conditions, housing, and other aspects facing refugees in Germany, as well as the socio spatial development in the post conflict in Syria.

The event will be moderated by by Sawsan Abou Zainedin, Syrian architect and urban development practitioner whose work tackles the impact of urban processes and reconstruction efforts on social justice, social cohesion, and good governance. She is the co-founder of Sarkan Housing Communities; a start-up social enterprise aimed at developing inclusive and socially-just housing programmes to aid recovery in Syria.

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