In 2019 and 2020, the numbers of internally displaced persons (IDPs) returning to their area of origin (AoO) or being re-displaced for a second time increased, coupled with persisting challenges in relation to lack of services, infrastructure and - in some cases - security in areas of origin. 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 an identified need for humanitarian and development planning. Decisions related to the closure of all IDP camps by the end of 2020 have also impacted these dynamics.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM)’s Emergency Displacement Tracking recorded around 6,394 households returned to non-camp locations between 31 August and 31 October 2020, 60% of which were recorded in Ninewa Governorate. Sinjar District witnessed 57% of the returns in the governorate, representing 34% of the total returns during the mentioned period.
Markaz Sinjar Sub-district
Markaz Sinjar is a sub-district of Sinjar District, located in the western area of Ninewa Governorate close the Iraq-Syria border. Key informants (KIs) reported that Markaz Sinjar Sub-district was housing an average of 16,781 households (HH) before 2014.
In August 2014, the the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) undertook military activities in the district of Sinjar, threatening minority groups and resulting in the displacement of over 200,000 people.5 While ISIL was dislodged from Sinjar in 2017, the return of those who fled has been hindered by the district’s disputed status between the Federal Government of Iraq (GoI) and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).5 In October 2020, the GoI and KRG signed an agreement on the status of Sinjar District in preparation for the return of the displaced populations originally from the district.