Following protests, UNIFIL reiterates rent for land it uses is Lebanese responsibility

11 Apr 2011

Following protests, UNIFIL reiterates rent for land it uses is Lebanese responsibility

11 April 2011 - Payment of rent for land allocated for use by UNIFIL is the responsibility of the Lebanese government, UNIFIL Spokesperson Neeraj Singh said Monday (April 11, 2011), following protests by some land owners over not receiving compensation for the use by UNFIL of their property.

Singh said as is the practice in all UN peacekeeping missions around the world, it is the responsibility of the host government to provide space for operational and administrative infrastructure of the mission.

"Accordingly, the Government of Lebanon provides UNIFIL with land, whether privately or government owned. This is managed through the Lebanese army and includes the signing of rental agreements with private land owners whereby the Government of Lebanon undertakes to pay the rent due to them," he said in a press statement.

UNIFIL develops the property for its use as appropriate and undertakes to safeguard the property and restore it to its initial condition or compensate for any undue damages at the time the property is handed back to its owners, the Spokesperson said. For this purpose, UNIFIL signs a separate bilateral agreement with the property owner detailing the state of the property at the time acquired.

Singh added: "We are aware of the outstanding rental dues to some land owners and have constantly urged the Lebanese authorities to fulfill their financial obligations in this regard. Last year, we were informed of a decision of the government to expedite due procedure for payment of outstanding rents, which we hoped would help address the concerns of the land owners. We have also welcomed the appointment of a LAF Land Committee that should help further streamline the arrangement."

"UNIFIL will continue to request the Lebanese authorities to address the matter with utmost urgency and we hope that with the formation of the new government this process will receive renewed impetus."