The proposed law to exempt displaced populations from construction fees, can only be seen as a direct reaction to the government’s pledge to completely shut down the Ministry of the Displaced and therefore put an end to the issues around displaced people. The latter is a decision which was made official in a ministerial statement from February 2019 .
The law was initiated by the President of the Union of Municipalities of the Upper West and Shahhar, and was presented to the Parliament by MP Anis Nassar who represents the “Strong Republic” parliamentary bloc.
This law comes more than 30 years after the end of the Civil War and the mountain war, under the pretext of encouraging the return of displaced people to their villages and homes, despite the existence of a series of strikingly similar previous legislations that did not result in the actual return of displaced people until now.
As such, the effectiveness of similar laws which exempt the displaced from fees or allow for an increase in investment factors, is put into question. This is true especially in light of the absence of employment opportunities as well as weak infrastructure and lack of services in the villages and towns from which they were originally displaced. In fact, since the 1990s, successive government policies did not address the root causes behind the displaced refusal to return to their towns and villages; while some of these policies contributed to fueling sectarian fears around the transformation of the “identity” and social fabric of some regions, which are concerns instilled by a history of sectarian violence and massacres.