Iraq Situation: UNHCR Flash Update - 17 May 2018

from UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Published on 17 May 2018

Key figures

2.1 million IDPs remain displaced since January 2014
273,933 Iraqi refugees hosted in countries in the region, with 11,916 Iraqis in camps in Al-Hassakeh Governorate, Syria
641,430 IDPs in Ninewa (including as a result of the Mosul military operation)
59,292 IDPs currently displaced due to military operations in Hawiga (Kirkuk) and Shirqat (Salah al-Din)
44,310 IDPs currently displaced due to military operations in west Anbar
303,096 individuals (59,470 households) currently enrolled in ASSIST, UNHCR’s assistance tracking tool

USD 578 million requested for IDPs and Iraqi refugees in the region in 2018

Situation Update

With the establishment of polling stations in camps, IDPs had the possibility to participate in the election for the Council of Representatives on 12 May. Overall the election was free of any major violence and results are expected soon. Some protests have occurred among the general population following the election, particularly in Kirkuk and Sulaymaniyah, over reported concerns of electoral fraud.

Population movements

Over 170 families, (more than 900 individuals) have been recorded voluntarily returning to areas of origin from camps in Anbar, Salah al-Din Erbil Ninewa and Duhok Governorates in the last week. Reasons for return included perception that areas of origin are safe to repair or rebuild houses, look after livestock and resume normal life, especially in locations where basic services have become available. In Dohuk governorate, some returnees reportedly sold their core relief items (CRIs) as they were unable to afford transportation expenses. Meanwhile, some 83 families (260 individuals), most of whom had left camps to return home, returned again to camps in Anbar, Erbil, and Ninewa governorates, underlining the difficulties faced by returnees in areas of origin with limited basic public services and employment and large scale damage to properties.

Response update

IDPs living in urban areas in Kirkuk city have continued to be evicted and relocated to camps. Two families (12 individuals) were evicted on 8 May and relocated to Laylan 1 camp and one family (6 individuals) was evicted on May 14 and relocated to Nazrawa camp. The family which relocated to Nazrawa had been living in Kirkuk city since 2013 and this was their first time to reside in a camp. Legal Assistance and efforts to replace missing documentation are priorities to ensure IDPs have access to basic rights and protection. Camp residents who do not have legal documentation continuously express their need to be able to leave the camp to work but are afraid they may be detained at checkpoints. Those who lack identity documents also may not be able to access food rations, realise their housing, land and property rights, or access compensation claims and other benefits, entitlements and public services, including education and healthcare. In Erbil, UNHCR’s protection partner identified 257 individuals who are missing documents. Over half never had documents in the first place; others reported that their documents had been damaged, lost or expired. Legal teams facilitated the issuance of 33 documents including 18 birth certificates through the Erbil Birth and Death Directory, and 15 civil IDs. In Kirkuk, UNHCR’s partner provided legal assistance to 59 families to acquire birth, marriage and death certificates, inheritance documents, and Public Distribution Systems cards (to access government assistance). In Ninewa, UNHCR’s partner succeeded in obtaining 55 birth certificates and 102 civil IDs.