CREDIT: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/razowsky/2630973447/">Flo Razowsky</a> (<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/deed.en">CC</a>)
CREDIT: Flo Razowsky (CC)

Anna Stilz on Occupancy Rights

Oct 10, 2013

Any attempts to tackle the problems of long-term refugees will have to address occupancy rights. Why do we have the right to live in a particular place, and what are we owed when those rights are violated? For example, if the Palestinians have a right of return, what's the basis of that right? Does it hold the same for second-generation refugees as for first?

One of the tragic side-effects of the civil war in Syria is that it has produced a mass migration of refugees and other displaced populations. For some, it isn't even the first time they've had to abandon home: The UN recently reported that 71,000 long-term Palestinian refugees have fled Syria for Lebanon.

As the reshuffling of Palestinians illustrates, these repeated movements are going to pose problems in the region for years or even generations to come.

Any attempts to tackle these problems are going to need to address the issue of occupancy rights. Why do we have the right to live in a particular place, and what are we owed when those rights are violated? If the Palestinians have a right of return, what's the basis of that right? Does it hold the same for second-generation refugees as for first?

Our guest today, Anna Stilz, has a theory of occupancy rights that attempts to settle these questions.

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