Since January 2014, Iraq’s war against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has caused the displacement of over 6 million Iraqis – around 15 per cent of the entire population of the country. Displaced communities began to return in waves from March 2015, following the military campaigns to retake areas under ISIL control and driven by expectations of restored stability, which peaked between June 2017 and June 2018 when nearly 4 million individuals returned to their location of origin, and since then the rate of return has slowed considerably. As of July 2021, around 4.9 million returns have been recorded across 2,162 locations in Iraq, but 287 locations nationwide have not yet witnessed returns. Around 1.2 million individuals remain in displacement, including those enduring secondary displacement and/or failed returns, mostly because of ongoing safety and security issues at the area of origin.
The Integrated Location Assessment (ILA) is an annual assessment that collects detailed information through key informants on displaced and returnee households living in locations identified through the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) Master Lists. The reference unit of the assessment is the location, which is defined as an area that corresponds with either a village for rural areas or a neighbourhood for urban areas (i.e. fourth official administrative division). Routinely collected information includes geographic distribution and main characteristics of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and returnees, mobility and future intentions including obstacles to return and/or reasons to stay/return, living conditions and main needs, state of infrastructure and services, security incidents, feelings of safety, social cohesion and reconciliation issues, and specific protection and risk indicators. The ILA VI was conducted in May–July 2021 and covered 3,757 locations, reaching 4,876,170 returnee individuals and 1,154,462 IDP individuals (representing 99% of all recorded returnees and 97% of IDPs).