Protection Monitoring at Community Level in Response to the COVID-19 Outbreak in Iraq | Summary of key findings - May 2020

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Due to COVID-19 movement restrictions, the National Protection Cluster (NPC) launched a remote protection monitoring (PM) exercise through Key Informant (KIs) interviews to measure the protection impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on affected communities in Iraq. The first round of data collection took place between 26 April and 10 May 2020 with 11 protection monitoring organizations interviewing 1481 KIs in 129 sub-districts. Interviews were conducted in IDP camps, informal sites and out-of-camp/return areas.

1. Impact on communities of Covid-19 measures and regulations

• In camps, 77% of KIs reported a ban on entry into/exit out of camps, but with exceptions permitted for health or protection reasons, whereas 16% reported a ban on entry into/exit without exceptions. In out-of-camp locations, 94% of KIs reported a ban on movement between governorates, 72% a ban on movement between districts and 53% a ban on movement within districts. In principle, these restrictions do not necessarily constitute a violation of the right to freedom of movement as, in the COVID-19 context, they may have represented necessary and proportionate public health measures.

• Issues related to forced relocation within or between camps, as well as forced evictions from camps, informal sites or rented accommodation were not reported at a significant level across all location types.

• 37 % of KIs cited arrest and detention as a possible consequence for breaching government measures and regulations, third after verbal warnings (64%) and fines (44%). The main actors reportedly responsible for enforcing measures and regulations included the police (84%), the military (42%), health authorities (40%) and other security actors (39%). While it cannot be ascertained whether the high- level of reporting for arrest and detention illustrates only a perceived risk or actual protection incidents, it indicates the communities’ concern about a security-based approach to the enforcement of government measures and regulations.

• 25% of KIs in camps reported that government measures and regulations applied either only or more strictly to IDPs, compared to 5% of KIs in out-of-camp locations. While it cannot be ascertained whether the high-level of reporting for IDP camps illustrates perceived or actual differences in the enforcement of measures and regulations, it indicates the camp populations’ concern about stricter and possibly discriminatory policies and practices.

• 26% KIs reported that specific social groups were more heavily impacted by the measures and regulations. Among the 26%, 64% of KIs cited daily laborers as being the most impacted group, far above any other social, ethnic or cultural groups. This finding illustrates the major socioeconomic impact of the COVID-19 crisis on communities.