Having a legal identity enables a person to hold other rights under law. In Syria, proof of legal identity and civil documentation (al-tawtheq al-madani) are essential for accessing a plethora of rights. However, Syrians displaced during the conflict – particularly those who fled abroad – face multiple barriers to obtaining civil documentation.
Syrians abroad must contend with high costs, security concerns, lack of freedom of movement and loss of their civil documents, as well as the complex procedures for obtaining documents when not resident in Syria. The result is that, while many Syrians in neighbouring countries such as Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq have managed to obtain civil documentation from their host country, most have not registered their life events in Syria.