Iraq + 1 more

Iraq: Protection Monitoring of Refugees in Response to COVID-19 Round 2 (October 2020)

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Overview

With the suspension of household visits in 2020 as a result of COVID-19 movement restrictions and preventative measures, UNHCR initiated the remote protection monitoring exercise as an alternate modality for UNHCR and partners* to conduct targeted, systemized protection monitoring for the refugee and asylumseeker population in Iraq. The survey was designed to provide an overview of how COVID and COVIDrelated measures have affected protection concerns of refugees and asylum-seekers over time and the continued impact on their access to rights, services, and coping mechanisms during the course of the year.

The exercise was initiated in August 2020, covering all governorates of Iraq and surveying Syrian households (HH) and HH of other nationalities. A total 1,605 HH were interviewed in Round 2 (1-28 October 2020), complementing the 1,653 HH interviewed for Round 1 (August-September 2020).

This report is a summary of Round 2 findings, highlighting the impact of COVID on the protection situation of refugees and asylum-seekers across Iraq.

Round 1 findings are available at: https://data2.unhcr.org/en/documents/details/82842.

Key Findings

▪ Most HH surveyed continue to feel well informed about COVID, sourcing information from media and close acquaintances, with the highest degree of trust resting in government sources.

▪ Consistent with Round 1, nearly all HH (94%) surveyed own at least one smart device, with slightly fewer able to access internet (84%). Nevertheless, access to smart devices within a HH is restricted to just over half of spouses, and fewer than a quarter of children.

▪ Overall evictions and impacts of movement restrictions remained low, with 27 total evictions in Round 2 and 86 in Round 1, due largely to the inability to pay rent.

▪ Consistent with Round 1, over half of HH reported reducing overall consumption of food, taking on further debt, and/or restricting movement in response to COVID, thus impacting access to livelihoods.

▪ From Round 1 to Round 2, there was a sharp increase in the percentage of HHs reporting turning to child marriage (42%), child labor (17%), and/or selling household items (17%) to generate funds.

▪ Consistent with Round 1, of boys and girls enrolled in formal primary and secondary school prior to COVID, fewer than half continued schooling at home after physical school closures, with most parents still feeling unable to support children’s at-home learning as the 2020-2021 academic year begins.

▪ Hesitations accessing non-COVID related healthcare persist. Of PwSN requiring care, an increasing percentage (nearly 40%) had not received any. Financial constraints and pre-existing issues accessing care superseded discontinuation of care as primary reasons in Round 2.

▪ Compared to Round 1, the percentage of respondents reporting feeling anxious due to the situation dropped below 50%, while one-fifth reported their psychological state impeded their daily routine as compared to one-third in Round 1, suggesting general improvement in adaptation and coping.

▪ From Round 1 to Round 2, there was no significant change in intentions to return to country of origin (CoO) in the next 12 months, with most HHs (85%) reporting no intent