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Iraq: 3RP Monthly Update - March 2015: Protection

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MARCH HIGHLIGHTS:

Syrian refugees from Kobane and other areas continue to arrive the Peshkhabour border (4,465 individuals). As from 2 March 2015 onwards the Ibrahim Khalil border has been closed to new arrivals from Syria. Refugees report that many of them were displaced in Syria prior to the plight, and female headed household face severe challenges moving through ISIL held territory.

Refugees returning to Syria (1,458 individuals) claim family reunification, access to medical care, attending family events, and the high cost of living in the KR-I as their main reason for departure.

Biometric registration and verification is progressing, and it is anticipated that the exercise will be completed in the KR-I towards the end of June.

The residency department in Sulaymaniyah has agreed to extend the residency for a period of 12 months thereby aligning the practice with Erbil and Duhok. The residency department will also participate in the ongoing verification and biometric registration exercise in urban areas, thereby increasing and speeding up the pace of residencies for out of camp refugees. The provision and quality of legal aid has been focus of attention in March, and engaged the support for the issuance of marriage and birth certificates as well as legal interventions to halt deportations. Nonetheless, some 8 refugees were deported from Akre in February 2015, and in one case a deportation decision was halted.

Child protection partners have conducted community based and individualized activities to understand reasons for school drop outs in refugee camps and urban areas. It appears that physical and psychological violence features prominently in addition to children going to “gaming” shops and other expressions of negative coping mechanisms.

SGBV partners in Duhok and Sulaymaniyah have added livelihood to SGBV services; it is expected that this will have a major positive impact on the ability of survivors to recover and reduce protection risks. An increasing number of men and boys access SGBV services following sustained awareness raising and the provision of enhanced, and non-discriminatory access to the services.

International Women’s Day activities were implemented in all camps and urban locations; themes were related to access to rights, gender equality, participation of women in leadership, and prevention and reduction of early marriage.

In Erbil, elections for the first urban community based protection committee were successfully held, and the refugees, displaced and affected host community elected 15 members of whom 7 are women.
Protection activities in Al-Qaim refugee camp remain suspended. It has been reported that many refugees have returned to Syria, but it is estimated that some 3,700 refugees are in Al-Qaim, of which 980 individuals are in the camp. It has been reported that movement outside of ISIL controlled territory is forbidden, whereas refugees can move within certain hours within ISIL controlled territory. Education is ongoing, but the curriculum has been changed at ISIL’s instruction and thus topics as geography, history and nationality have been abolished.