Iraq + 1 more

UNHCR - Iraq Fact Sheet (April 2021) [EN/AR]

News and Press Release
Originally published


>37,000 Refugee and IDP women and girls have received sanitary kits in 2021 as of 30 April

>20,000 Refugees and IDPs have received legal assistance in 2021 as of 30 April

>24,000 Refugees have benefitted from COVID-19 awareness raising in 2021 as of 30 April

~1,000 Refugees and IDPs received their first COVID19 vaccination as of 30 April

Working with Partners

  • Through the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP), UNHCR leads the humanitarian response for Syrian refugees in Iraq, in close coordination with humanitarian actors and government authorities, to protect and assist refugees and asylum-seekers. Under the 3RP, UNHCR leads the Protection, Shelter, and Basic Needs sectors, and co-leads the Health sector with the WHO and the WASH sector with UNICEF.

  • UNHCR is engaged in the inter-agency response to internal displacement and returns. UNHCR leads the Protection, Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM), and Shelter/Non-Food Items clusters, as part of the cluster coordination mechanism for the IDP response. UNHCR also co-leads, with UNFPA and the WFP, the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF 2020-2024) Priority Working Group “Achieving Social Cohesion, Protection, and Inclusion”. UNHCR is also part of the inter-agency Durable Solutions Task Force and its technical subgroups.

Main Activities


  • Refugees – UNHCR coordinates the response for all refugees in Iraq with the government, UN agencies, and local and international partners, including activities related to: registration; protection monitoring and advocacy; legal aid; psychosocial support; child protection; prevention, risk mitigation, and response to gender-based violence (GBV) and sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA); and resettlement to third countries which is pursued for a small number of refugees with acute vulnerabilities/protection needs.

  • IDPs – Direct interventions are undertaken with local, regional, and national authorities to ensure that the displaced can access safety in camps and non-camp locations. Protection monitoring teams have been deployed to identify protection and assistance needs, including in areas of return, which directly inform protection responses, including: provision of legal assistance on a range of issues such as missing civil documentation; prevention, risk mitigation, and response to GBV and SEA; child protection; the reunification of separated families; and the coordination of IDP protection responses with the government, NGOs and other UN agencies.

  • Durable Solutions – Through an area-based approach, UNHCR works to develop pilot projects and strengthen local government coordination mechanisms to ensure the viability and sustainability of local integration, both in areas of return, for those who are willing and able to return, and in areas outside of places of origin.

Camp Coordination and Camp Management

  • As the CCCM Cluster and 3RP lead, UNHCR works with local authorities and humanitarian actors to provide coordinated services to IDP and refugee camps. This translates to ensuring adequate shelter, delivery of food and water, presence of education and health facilities, as well as capacity building for camp management actors and service providers.

  • In mid-October 2020, the Government of Iraq embarked on a sudden IDP camp closure exercise which resulted in the closure or reclassification of 16 IDP camps and informal sites, affecting over 42,400 individuals who departed from these sites. As of 30 April 2021, 184,552 IDPs were hosted in 29 camps, mainly in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KR-I), with only two camps operating in federal Iraq following the aforementioned closures.

  • Of the 245,953 registered Syrian refugees, over 95,000 reside in ten camps across the KR-I. Currently, over 98 per cent of Syrian refugees live in KR-I, with 39 per cent residing in camps and the remainder in urban, periurban, and rural areas.

Shelter and NFIs

  • UNHCR provides shelter assistance, core relief items, and coordinates with humanitarian actors to complement the work of local authorities to improve the living conditions of IDPs and refugees in camp and non-camp settings throughout Iraq. This includes the distribution of tents, blankets, mattresses, kitchen sets and sanitary kits.

Basic Needs

  • UNHCR assists vulnerable displaced and refugee families to cover their most basic needs through the distribution of cash assistance. In areas where markets are functioning and accessible to beneficiaries, unconditional cash provides an efficient way to meet the needs of those affected by displacement, allowing families to prioritize their own needs while upholding their dignity and making them less likely to resort to harmful coping strategies.