In 2021, the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) returning to their area of origin (AoO) or being re-displaced increased, coupled with persisting challenges in relation to social cohesion, lack of services, infrastructure and - in some cases - security in AoOs. Increased returns were driven in part by the ongoing closure and consolidation of IDP camps. As of July 2021, 16 formal camps and informal sites have been closed or reclassified as informal sites since camp closures started in mid-October 2020. For the camps that remain open across Iraq there is an ongoing planning procedure to determine their future. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM)’s Returnee Master List recorded that over 5,460 households returned to non-camp locations across the country between January and July 2021.
There were no additional camp closures between January and July 2021, however IDPs continued returning or secondarily displacing. In light of these dynamics, the need to better understand the sustainability of returns, conditions for the (re)integration of IDPs and returnees, and the impact of their presence on access to services and social cohesion has been identified in the context of humanitarian and development planning.