Access to Justice for Syrian Communities – Formal Challenges, Informal Opportunities

UNESCO-International Center for Human Sciences, Byblos

LAU’s Institute for Social Justice and Conflict Resolution (ISJCR), the Department of Social Sciences at LAU, UNESCO-CISH, and International Alert (IA) are organizing a final conference titled: “Access to Justice for Syrian Communities - Formal Challenges, Informal Opportunities”.

The conference concludes a two-year research project that has probed into Syrian communities’ access to formal and informal justice in Lebanon through the lens of various methodologies. The project is funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research and implemented by a research consortium bringing together CISH, the Lebanese American University and International Alert. The research consortium is led by CISH. 

While there is a plethora of writings and reports on Syrian communities’ livelihoods, little do we know about the conditions impacting their justice concerns, and their recourse patterns to formal and informal justice mechanisms. Moreover, there is paucity of research when it comes to mapping actors involved in the making of formal and informal refugee justice in Lebanon. More broadly, there is scarcity of research in the region on how justice is to be understood and conceptualized in the wake of the post-2011 displacement crises and their implications for Syria’s bordering countries. With this background, the conference will not only conceptualize justice as the regulation of conduct through the judiciary prism, but will also debate ‘access to justice’ through various forms of conflict regulation and mediation that are extra-judicial (e.g. intervention of a third party, adjudication by an authoritative figure, community-based participative approaches). 

Favoring a multi-stakeholder approach, the conference aims to spark a conversation between academics and practitioners on the meaning and forms of access to justice for displaced Syrians in addition to the tensions and opportunities that displacement brings along. It will adopt a mixed approach that generates on the one hand knowledge on forms of justice mechanisms, and that informs on the other the crafting of rights-based national and international policy frameworks. In broader perspective, the conference aims to foster policy and social learning from other cases and regions with a view to promoting justice in fragile contexts lacking well-defined asylum regimes and subject to various geopolitical constraints. 

The conference is in both English and Arabic. Simultaneous translation is available.

Click here for more information on the conference, speakers, and program.