Almost 1.2 million Iraqis continue to live in protracted situations of internal displacement and the country hosts over one-quarter of a million refugees. These displaced populations are often more vulnerable to protection risks—such as arbitrary arrest and detention, trauma and psychological stress, threat of eviction from their homes, and lack of access to essential services—than the population at large. For example, almost one-fifth of the out-of-camp IDPs report psycho-social distress, and just half have access to safe and adequate housing. Nearly one-in-five Syrian refugees rely on charity and cash assistance for food, and more than half report experiencing difficulties accessing healthcare services.
While returns of displaced Iraqis to their home governorates consistently outnumber new displacements, many of those still in displacement are unable to go back for a range of reasons, including destroyed property, lack of livelihood opportunities, insecurity, fear and trauma, and perceived affiliation to extremist groups. As many as 90 percent have been displaced for more than three years and 70 percent for more than five years. Additionally, many Iraqis who have been able to return to their homes continue to live in substandard conditions, struggle to reintegrate, lack livelihood opportunities, and require support and assistance to access services and meet their basic needs.
While significant humanitarian support is still crucial for many, efforts in the country are gradually transitioning from humanitarian interventions and placing more focus on development interventions to support public institutions to deliver basic services and ensure their socio-economic integration. At the same time, Iraq's overall political, economic, and security environment remains unpredictable.