The military offensive to retake Mosul, Hawija and Shirqat continues to result in hundreds of individuals and families fleeing their homes. To date 161,634 people have been displaced to different governorates within the country and beyond. UNHCR protection teams have identified increased incidents of collective punishment, unstable conditions in return areas, and the presence of armed actors in Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps as some of the key protection concerns faced by IDPs. UNHCR and protection partners continue to respond to protection needs of IDPs inside and outside camps.
Eviction as collective punishment: UNHCR and partners have received increasing reports of authorities expelling or evicting IDP and resident families to IDP camps over allegations of perceived links with armed groups. UNHCR and other protection actors continue to engage with authorities to ensure individual acts are not imputed on families or groups, and have been advocating with camp authorities, local and provincial leaders to address escalating community tensions.
Return movements and concerns: Some families are leaving Mosul camps and host communities, purportedly, to areas of origin. UNHCR’s protection monitors conduct pre-departure and post-departure interviews with families to monitor the voluntariness of the returns. Interviews have revealed that the impact of the extremely cold weather in the camps, the desire to reunite with family, resumption of work or school and the fear of their property being occupied or looted are some of the motivations for return. UNHCR is monitoring the return conditions in east Mosul and continues to urge authorities to ensure that returns are safe, voluntary and dignified and that IDPs are provided with information to enable informed decisions on options to return or to remain.
Presence of armed actors within IDP camps: During protection assessments a significant number of women and girls in the Jeddah, Haj Ali and Qayyarah Airstrip camps report that armed actors walk freely among family tents. Families report that tent-to-tent searches are conducted and incidents of harassment of female-headed households occur. UNHCR and other protection actors have raised concerns to camp management and to the security forces, urging that security related activities be conducted outside the camps and that anyone entering the camp must be unarmed.
Civil documentation concerns: In January, household-level protection assessments indicated that 49% of assessed IDP families reported missing documentation – 84% from Ninewa. UNHCR and partners are responding by providing much needed legal support to these families to obtain birth certification, identity documentation (ID) and for marriage registration.
1.5 million people expected to be impacted in Mosul and surrounding areas
161,634 people currently displaced