Exiled At Home: Internal displacement resulted from the armed conflict in Iraq and its humanitarian consequences

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In June 2014, Iraq witnessed its highest record of internally displaced people due to the military operations that began after the Islamic State organization (ISIS) took control over large parts of Iraq, including the western and northern regions of the country. Thousands of families fled to escape death and violations to other Iraqi provinces ever since.

The number of displaced people during the past six years has reached more than 6 million. They had fled conflict regions for other Iraqi governorates such as Baghdad, Kirkuk, Anbar, Nineveh, Salah al-Din and Diyala, and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. About 4,867,050 displaced people have returned, while the number of those still displaced reached around 1,198,940 as of writing this report.

Since this massive displacement movement began, Iraq has faced many challenges in meeting the humanitarian needs of the displaced and finding durable solutions. A Euro-Med Monitor field team documented the extent of the suffering experienced by the displaced on a humanitarian level. In addition to many of them being unable to return to their original homes, IDPs suffer from an acute shortage of food, lack of sources of livelihood, lack of healthy water, scarcity of fuel for cooking and heating, power cuts and many other health and education problems.

Between the end of 2017 and 2019, the Iraqi authorities closed many displacement camps and merged others to return the displaced to their homes. This contributed to the return of more than 4 million to their areas. Despite this, more than a million displaced people are still displaced and suffer from extreme humanitarian conditions. On the one hand, IDPs are unable to return to their homes due to destruction during the military operations amid a slow process of reconstruction. On the other hand, the Iraqi authorities did not provide an appropriate temporary alternative for them. This caused displacement again and prompted them to head towards random and unsafe areas or seek refuge in abandoned houses because their camps were closed.

In this report, Euro-Med Monitor sheds light on the conditions of displacement camps in Iraq, and the challenging humanitarian conditions experienced by the displaced. The report also features the reasons standing between the displaced and returning home while highlighting the legal aspect that addresses this type of violations.