Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development

Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development

ARDD team and int’l legal counsel Figueroa-Rodriguez discuss with Syrian lawyers prospects and legal angles of return


ARDD’s team and their guests philanthropist and veteran legal counsel Diego R. Figueroa-Rodriguez and his brother, psychologist Tito, met on Wednesday August 29, 2018, with a group of Syrian lawyers who are living in Jordan as refugees.

The lawyers discussed with the team and the legal experts the prospects of Syrians’ return to Syria, the role they have to take on to rebuild and re-stabilize Syria when they return, and the current legislative environment in Syria, and how it would help or hinder the safe return of refugees and the reconstruction process, particularly the new housing Law No 10, which has recently sparked controversy and spread some fears among refugees regarding the possibility of losing their properties back home.

The attendees, most of whom have not been able to practice their profession since they left their country and have been mostly unemployed apart from volunteer work with NGOs, discussed the possibility of cooperating to train Syrian law practitioners on corporate and financial law, to be of the most benefit to their homeland when the war ends.

Also among the discussions was the cooperation of Syrian lawyers with ARDD after their return to Syria, and working together to on issues and legal complications arising from Syrian refugees returning from camps and asylums around the world.

Some 35 Syrian lawyers are estimated to be currently residing as refugees in Jordan. The number used to be higher, the lawyers said, but many of them have emigrated to other countries from Jordan since the conflict started.

The Syrian lawyers said that their return to their country, and the return of most Syrian refugees in Jordan and elsewhere, is dependent on the guarantee of the return of the rule of law to Syria, the presence of basic life necessities, and the guarantee of safety.

Until these guarantees are met, and Syrians remain in asylum countries, the lawyers said they need to engage in their host communities, particularly on issues regarding refugee policies.

Mr. Figueroa-Rodriguez, a counsel at multinational law firm DLA Piper, one of the largest law firms in the world, expressed his interest in cooperating with the lawyers once the reconstruction process begins and investments and corporations begin to contribute to this process.

An expert in corporate and financial law, Mr. Figueroa-Rodriguez has worked with his firm in African and other developing countries on training law practitioners and justice sector reform.

ARDD believes that the Syrian legal community has an enormous role to play in the development of Syrian communities after the conflict ends, as well as the protection of Syrian refugees in asylum countries, and thus has worked with Syrian lawyers in Jordan on several projects involving capacity building and identifying the legal needs of refugee communities.