Libya was governed for 42 years by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi until the revolution of 2011.Since the end of the Gaddafi regime, Libya has experienced an unstable political situation, and the new government has not yet clarified if property rights will be reformed. The country has a population of 6.2 million, of which approximately 23% is rural.
The Constitutional Declaration of 2011 provides property rights as inviolable and recognizes the right of property owners to dispose of their property without interference. Law No. 142 of 1970 on tribal lands established that all unregistered or unused land belong s to the state; the law placed limits on the influence of customary tribal leaders who had previously exercised control over communal land. In addition, customary law and practices have been restricted by Law No. 142, which further limits the power of traditional leaders.
Conflicts over land in Libya have primarily related to property expropriation by the Libyan government prior to the 2011 revolution. After the fall of Gaddafi’s regime, many Libyans attempted to recover their land, which in many cases has been occupied for decades, with mortgages having been paid to the government during that time. An official mechanism for the resolution of these kinds of disputes has not been established. Although some communities have succeeded in negotiating the return of their land, many others remain without land.