Cluster Operational Guidelines and Standards for the Rapid Response to Iraqis Affected by Camp Closures and Consolidation, November 2020

Manual and Guideline
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The following is a package of technical guidance, per cluster, for the response to people affected by camp closures and consolidation in 2020, resulting in forced returns and secondary displacement to out-of-camp locations. Several principles underpin the response across all clusters; these include the “do no harm” principle and the principle of humanity and impartiality. This translates to a commitment to not stigmatize the affected population by targeting them alone for assistance, and to avoid creating or increasing tensions and conflict within communities, particularly where other IDPs and/or returnees exist in the same area and are also in acute need.

Accordingly, when operational organizations consider assisting those that have been directly affected by camp closures, it is imperative that they also assist others in the area that are in acute need, including other returnees and out-of-camp IDPs. The needs of the longer-in-place returnees or IDPs should assessed and included when their level of need is similarly acute, they are not being addressed by any organizations regular programming, and/or when not including them in the assistance would have a detrimental impact of the new arrivals. In addition, the needs of host/local communities should be addressed as possible and appropriate, according to need. These needs are not covered under the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for Iraq nor are they formally coordinated by the humanitarian coordination system, however, organizations are encouraged to address needs as they are able and their individual funding allows, for the purpose of not stigmatizing the newly arrived population by seeming to “favor” them over other people with needs. Where the need of the local community is for reconstruction or stabilization interventions, these should be referred to the Durable Solutions Taskforce and local authorities.

All assistance is to be based on need alone. The sudden closure of camps and subsequent forced returns and secondary displacements represent life-changing circumstances for many of the affected persons, disrupting coping mechanisms and reducing access to assistance and resources. However, people that have been moved out of camps in late 2020 should not be assisted according to this status alone, as some will have greater coping capacities and access to resources than others; their vulnerabilities and needs must be assessed and documented first, and the most vulnerable prioritized. The same principle applies for longer-in-place IDPs or returnees that may need assistance.

The duration of the rapid assistance activities outlined below is specified where appropriate, and pertains to each family/cohort of movement, not to the validity of the guidance itself. The validity of this guidance overall extends until the conclusion of the camp closures. This guidance document presents an extraction from the overall HRP of the most relevant specific activities required for a rapid response and packaged as a standalone document for the sake of clarity.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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