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UNHCR Iraq Protection Update - December 2018

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  • Around 1,400 families departed from camps and more than 2,300 families arrived in camps across Iraq in December. Many IDPs report they are unable to return due to security concerns and lack of shelter and livelihood opportunities.

  • The closure of formal and informal camps across the country resulted in secondary displacement and premature returns.

  • As part of the ‘16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence’ activities, UNHCR and partners organized awareness raising campaigns and workshops for IDPs, refugees, government officials, camp management and humanitarian workers.

  • Capacity building initiatives were conducted with federal and local government officials to promote and enhance refugee and IDP protection.


Based on data provided by the Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) Cluster, 1,402 families departed camps across Iraq during December, while 2,325 families arrived in camps. Of these, 1,032 families were in secondary displacement.

According to assessments carried out by UNHCR and partners, IDP families continued to be displaced for various reasons. In Erbil, 23 families, including 15 female-headed households, sought shelter in camps due to lack of livelihood and high rents in their previous areas of displacement. Twelve families originally displaced in Baghdad and in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KR-I) moved to Habaniyah Tourist City (HTC) and Amriyeat Al Fallujah (AAF) camps in Anbar Governorate due to the limited services and livelihood opportunities, and as a result of authorities’ camp consolidation and closure plans. In Salah al-Din Governorate, three families originally from Shirqat District were displaced from east Shirqat to Basateen and Karama camps due to their inability to rehabilitate their houses and the lack of services and employment opportunities.

For many IDPs experiencing multiple and protracted displacement, the prospect of return remains tenuous. A report on intention surveys carried out across 14 governorates between July and August 2018 was released by REACH and the CCCM Cluster. Only 12 per cent of the households reported intending to return to their areas of origin within 12 months, with seven per cent intending to return within three months. The main reasons for not returning included damaged or destroyed houses, fear and trauma, lack of security forces in areas of return, and lack of livelihood/income generating opportunities. Similar results were reported by partners conducting protection monitoring visits in Kirkuk Governorate where many families indicated that they do not plan to return in the near future. The families cited continued attacks by extremist groups, destruction of houses due to military operations, construction of barracks inside villages by government-affiliated armed groups, and lack of livelihood opportunities and basic services. According to assessments carried out by partners in Mosul District, Ninewa, around 3,350 families displaced in Al Abour Village stated that they were unable to return due to the lack of basic services, destroyed houses, inter-communal concerns surrounding their return, and their difficult socio-economic situation.