Iraq: Humanitarian Bulletin, December 2020

Situation Report
Originally published
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  • Civil Documentation

  • Interference in Humanitarian Programming

  • Continued Access Challenges in 2020

  • Spike in Gender-Based Violence in 2020

  • Gaps in Out-of-camp IDP Response: Spotlight on Duhok

Humanitarian Partners Mobilize to Provide Civil Documentation

Missing civil documentation has been highlighted as one of the key barriers in the transition to durable solutions for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Iraq. The loss or destruction of civil documentation is one of the main protection issues resulting from the years of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) activity in Iraq. There are numerous causes: loss or destruction during fighting, confiscation at checkpoints or during security screenings, and deliberate misplacement due to fear of arrest. A lack of civil documentation may render many IDPs and returnees unable to access basic services such as education and health care. It can increase the risk of arrest and detention, prevent the formal registration of significant events such as births, marriages and deaths not possible and lead to exclusion from recovery and reconstruction programmes.

Slightly more than half of Iraqi households affected by displacement are missing at least one key individual or household document. Female-headed households and children are particularly vulnerable. As of 2019, an estimated 45,000 children displaced in IDP camps in Iraq did not have Iraqi-state issued birth certificates or other civil documents proving their legal identity. Children without these documents may be barred from attending school, denied access to state social welfare programs, and eventually prevented from owning or renting property or engaging in formal employment.

Humanitarian organizations, in cooperation with government and civil society, have implemented and supported a number of projects to enable IDPs and returnees to learn about the legal requirements and procedures to obtain or renew civil documentation.

They have also provided material and technical support to government counterparts where necessary.
Ensuring that all IDPs and returnees have access to the necessary documentation to resume their lives is a critical step to obtaining sustainable solutions to displacement and facilitating an end to the need for humanitarian assistance.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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