Operation: Opération: Iraq



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Key Figures

2018 year-end results
233,770 people of concern received core relief items
97,640 IDP families received core relief and seasonal items
81,560 IDPs received legal assistance
39,500 Syrian refugee families received cash assistance
28,150 IDP families received multi-purpose cash grants
15,210 Syrian refugees received support for primary education
7,110 IDP families received emergency shelter and refugee housing units
2019 planning figures
129,000 IDP and returnee families will receive cash grants
100,000 IDPs and returnees will receive legal assistance
60,000 Syrian refugees will receive legal assistance
50,000 IDP and returnee families will receive core relief items
31,400 Syrian refugee families will receive cash grants
15,000 Syrian refugee families will receive core relief items

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Decrease in
2018 3,092,425
2017 4,501,786
2016 5,326,166


[["Refugees",283022],["Asylum-seekers",14015],["IDPs",1802832],["Returned IDPs",944958],["Returned refugees",63],["Stateless",47515],["Others of concern",20]]
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2018 {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"budget":[564.26129787,556.06492208,546.94595405,557.093760866,559.82611683,602.47744844],"expenditure":[311.98260697,266.34543259,338.02568545,252.37669675,213.92686105,null]} {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"p1":[162.76932396,136.09662109,116.48767369,137.52939031,135.89173072,185.67386308],"p2":[2.00000074,2.0459884,0.80424081,0.623739,0.307821,0.46577979],"p3":[39.59885527,35.76378805,26.70785472,null,null,null],"p4":[359.8931179,382.15852454,402.94618483,418.940631556,423.62656511,416.33780557]} {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"p1":[109.08450058,102.03521415,98.77158239,78.07126444,72.24820125,null],"p2":[1.96887166,1.499491,0.30823717,0.26725107,0.23696317,null],"p3":[10.53576239,11.32961956,1.89021959,null,null,null],"p4":[190.39347234,151.48110788,237.0556463,174.03818124,141.44169663,null]}
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  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019

Operational context

Important political and socio-economic events directly affected the situation of displaced people in Iraq in 2018 – the contested outcome of the federal election, for example, impacted stability and resulted in numerous protests and security incidents. The adoption of the revised refugee law was pending with the Parliament.

With major military operations drawing to a close at the end of 2017, the country entered a gradual transition from emergency response to a longer-term development approach.

Despite relative improvements in the security environment, many returnees and IDPs continued to face insecurity and limited access to basic services, while contending with destroyed properties and a lack of livelihood opportunities. Security incidents and military operations continue in certain areas of the country. Protection risks remained acute, with many IDP and returnee families disproportionately affected by restrictions on access to safety and freedom of movement; the confiscation of documents; forced encampment; forced evictions; and risk of sexual and gender-based violence. Some people were barred from returning to their areas of origin due to alleged affiliation with extremists, while forced returns also remained a persistent challenge.

Population trends

As of 31 December, some 1.8 million people were internally displaced in Iraq, with over 547,000 IDPs residing in more than 120 camps. There was a steady decrease of some 1 million IDPs over the year such that by the end of 2018, there were 4.1 million IDP returnees. While no official figures are available, some 20,000 Iraqi refugees returned from Turkey and the Syrian Arab Republic. Many were unable to return to their areas of origin, choosing to establish themselves in IDP camps due to insecurity, damaged infrastructure, limited livelihood opportunities and unexploded remnants of war.
By the end of 2018, there were over 297,000 refugees registered in Iraq, including 252,500 Syrian refugees. The large majority (99%) of Syrian refugees live in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq – 47% of whom are female and 43% of whom are children. In all, 24,501 Syrian refugees entered Iraq for the first time in 2018.
There was a slight reduction in the number of stateless persons in Iraq in 2018 from 47,630 to 47,515, resulting from the issuance of nationality documentation.

Key achievements

  • 76 Quick impact projects promoted social cohesion between IDP, returnee, refugee and host communities.
  • Comprehensive solutions strategy for Syrian refugees developed to enhance the legal, economic, and socio-cultural inclusion of refugees. 

Unmet needs

Due to various reasons including security and operational challenges as well as resource limitations, some programmes/activities were partially or fully not implemented. 
  • Not all refugees are registered under the national Political Refugee Law, precluding them from moving freely within the country, accessing services, and enjoying fundamental human rights. Advocacy in 2018 resulted in a federal Government decision to register Syrian refugees beginning in 2019, which will improve freedom of movement and protect them from deportation.
  • The proportion of IDPs and returnees who were unable to access registration and documentation or were denied access to their areas of origin for security or other reasons remained a serious concern for UNHCR.
  • With pressure for return, as well as the consolidation and closure of camps political priorities, evictions and the forced return of IDPs continued to be reported in the Centre and Southern governorates. 

Working environment

Since January 2014, the escalating violence in Iraq has led to the internal displacement of more than 3.2 million people. In addition, there are approximately one million IDPs displaced between 2006 and 2007.  The military operations against extremist groups are expected to be drawing to a close, which will improve security and accelerate IDP returns. Humanitarian access is expected to expand in most areas of the country. The effects of the economic crisis and the asymmetrical attacks in newly retaken areas will continue to impact the protection environment for displaced and host communities. In 2018, efforts will increasingly focus on the most vulnerable, while care and maintenance assistance will gradually be phased out. The refugee population in Iraq is expected to remain largely stable.
UNHCR’s expects to continue key partnerships with government authorities and explore all viable options to transition out of humanitarian interventions and pursue the systematic inclusion of people of concern into national development plans and the programmes of development-oriented UN agencies. UNHCR will continue to lead the Protection, Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM), and Shelter/Non-Food items clusters, as part of the cluster coordination mechanism for IDP response, and lead the humanitarian response for Syrian refugees in coordination with the authorities through the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP).

Key priorities

In 2018, UNHCR will focus on:
  • Providing in-kind and cash-based assistance to the most vulnerable people and providing shelter to IDPs. Further enhancing the protection space as well as advocating and promoting access to asylum procedures;
  • Exploring all viable options to transition out of humanitarian interventions and pursue the systematic inclusion of people of concern into national development plans and the programmes of development-oriented UN agencies;
  • Ensuring adequate shelter through prioritizing construction and repair of shelters for the most vulnerable IDP families;
  • Providing together with protection partners free legal services for those in displacement and in areas of return across Iraq;
  • Mainstreaming sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) response programmes into non-food item, shelter, and camp management activities, increasing monitoring and access to quality services across Iraq.
  • Advocating with the Government to develop a national legal framework for refugee protection and provide technical support to the authorities to enhance the protection environment for Syrian and non-Syrian refugees and asylum-seekers.
Latest contributions
  • 17-JUL-2019
  • 16-JUL-2019
  • 11-JUL-2019
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  • 08-JUL-2019
    European Union
  • Kuwait
  • 05-JUL-2019
  • 04-JUL-2019

    private donors

  • European Union
  • Japan
  • 03-JUL-2019
  • 02-JUL-2019
  • 30-JUN-2019

    private donors

  • Argentina
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  • United Arab Emirates

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  • Kuwait

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  • Saudi Arabia

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