2013 UNHCR country operations profile - Iraq
The general situation in Iraq is characterized by multiple security, political and economic challenges. Although not a party to either the 1951 Convention or its 1967 Protocol, Iraq has been generous in extending hospitality to tens of thousands of refugees and others in need of international protection and assistance.
The Iraqi "Comprehensive Plan to End Displacement", developed with UNHCR's support, incorporates key humanitarian elements tailored to improve access to basic services, livelihoods and employment in areas of return. It also includes shelter programmes for areas of displacement.
Due to the unrest in the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria), Iraqi refugees in that country are increasingly opting to return home in large numbers, with some 32,000 arriving in July and August 2012 alone. This movement is in addition to the flight of thousands of Syrian nationals escaping the violence, who are either being accommodated by host communities or residing in camps. Another challenge facing the Iraqi Government and the international community is to provide humanitarian assistance and sustainable solutions for some 1.2 million Iraqi internally displaced persons (IDPs), in addition to offering protection and emergency support to tens of thousands of refugees in the country.
The influx of Syrian refugees and returning Iraqis has led to a significant increase in UNHCR's operational needs in Iraq. Refugees, both in camps and urban settlements, remain dependent on UNHCR's protection and assistance services.
Of special concern to the Office are the most destitute IDPs, who have no option but to live in illegal, substandard settlements where they are at constant risk of eviction. Security risks, depletion of personal resources, high living costs and a dearth of self-reliance opportunities make it extremely difficult for them to find durable solutions. Some refugee returnees also find themselves internally displaced. Returnees, whether refugees or IDPs, also face problems related to the lack of basic services and documentation. The population of stateless people in the country faces similar problems.
|UNHCR 2013 planning figures for Iraq|
|TYPE OF POPULATION||ORIGIN||JAN 2013||DEC 2013|
|TOTAL IN COUNTRY||OF WHOM ASSISTED
|TOTAL IN COUNTRY||OF WHOM ASSISTED
|Refugees||Islamic Rep. of Iran||8,600||8,600||8,990||8,990|
|Syrian Arab Rep.||60,000||60,000||120,000||120,000|
|Asylum-seekers||Islamic Rep. of Iran||5,900||5,900||5,050||5,050|
|Syrian Arab Rep.||1,500||1,500||1,500||1,500|
Main objectives and targets for 2013
Basic needs and essential services
The supply of potable water is increased or maintained.
At least 280 IDP and refugee camps and settlements as well as returnee locations benefit from improvements or upkeep of their water supply systems.
Shelter and infrastructure are built, improved or maintained.
Some 33,900 IDPs, refugees and returnees benefit from the construction, improvement or maintenance of 5,650 shelters.
Community empowerment and self-reliance
Self-reliance and livelihoods are improved.
Vocational training and livelihood projects ease the reintegration of returnees in Iraq.
Security from violence and exploitation
The risk of SGBV is reduced and the quality of the response to it is improved.
All known victims of SGBV receive support.
Fair protection processes and documentation
The quality of registration and profiling is improved.
UNHCR assists the Government to register a total of some 100,000 stateless people and refugees in camps and urban settlements.
Some 3,000 residents of Camp New Iraq (the former Ashraf Camp) are registered and their claims examined in accordance with UNHCR's mandate.
Favourable protection environment
People of concern to UNHCR gain better access to legal assistance and remedies.
Some 20,000 people receive legal assistance.
The potential for integration is realized.
Some 5,000 refugees receive naturalization documents.
Resettlement is sought for 1,500 Camp New Iraq residents for whom other solutions cannot be found.
Strategy and activities in 2013
UNHCR's strategy in Iraq is to ensure the protection and well-being of persons of concern in collaboration with the host Government and various humanitarian stakeholders, including sister UN agencies and other governmental and non-governmental organizations.
The strategy comprises advocacy for accession to the major international refugee and statelessness instruments; advocacy for the establishment of responsive national asylum systems, including refugee legislation and procedures consistent with international standards; and legal interventions on behalf of refugees, stateless persons, IDPs and returnees.
UNHCR's approach also includes services to combat sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV); the provision of material assistance; capacity-building programmes for governmental and NGO partners; and shelter and self-reliance projects for Iraqi IDPs and returnees. All plans will be implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Migration and Displacement (MODM) under the framework of the Government's Comprehensive Plan to End Displacement.
The protection network established by UNHCR throughout the country is designed to engage with communities to monitor the protection environment, provide legal counselling, help people of concern enjoy their fundamental rights and reinforce the capacity of governmental implementing and operational partners.
UNHCR will strengthen the capacity of the protection network in all the various governorates, with special emphasis on assisting the most vulnerable.
As the preferred solution for the majority of Iraqi IDPs is integration in their areas of displacement, UNHCR is developing community-based projects and constructing low-cost shelters in sites allocated by the Government. The organization is working closely with the authorities to reinforce access to social safety nets and provide water and sanitation to mitigate dire living conditions.
The surge in violence in Syria that has driven many thousands of Syrians to seek safety in Iraq is compelling UNHCR to seek additional human and financial resources in order to mount an effective emergency response. UNHCR's strategy includes maintaining an emergency stockpile of non-food items, including tents, basic domestic items, hygiene kits, etc.
To promote Iraq's accession to the Refugee and Statelessness Conventions, UNHCR will organize training workshops targeting national authorities, NGOs and local leaders and communities. Border monitoring will be a major component of the programme, with the aim of ensuring adequate access to the country and follow-up for cases of deportation from Europe and elsewhere. Border officials will be included in UNHCR's capacity-building activities.
Since early 2012, UNHCR has been engaged in a challenging operation to register and examine the asylum claims of more than 3,000 people in Camp New Iraq. The goal of the operation is to find peaceful and lasting solutions for those found to be in need of international protection. In view of the complexity of the process and serious difficulties in finding solutions for the concerned families and individuals, UNHCR will need to significantly augment the human and financial resources allocated to the task in 2013.
The fragile security situation, which restricts UNHCR's access to people of concern, and the absence of a national legal framework for refugee and asylum procedures, are the main constraints in Iraq.
Organization and implementation
UNHCR is strengthening its collaboration with governmental entities and national partners through its National NGO Partnership Programme. It is also working closely with the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), as well as other UN agencies. UNHCR and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights co-chair the UN Development Assistance Framework and the protection, governance and human-rights working groups. Close coordination with UNHCR offices in the region is of paramount importance for the successful implementation of the programme.
UNHCR's budget for Iraq will be reduced in 2013 to USD 146 million.
A large portion of the 2013 budget (one third) will cover shelter activities for people of concern throughout the country, with an emphasis on Baghdad and the central governorates. In 2012, the Government of Iraq began allocating plots of land for the construction of shelters for IDPs and returnees, and UNHCR will give the authorities strong support in the implementation of the Comprehensive Plan to End Displacement.
The 2013 budget for Iraq will be further revised in order to cover additional needs related to the Syria crisis which could not be assessed at the time this budget was approved.
Source: UNHCR Global Appeal 2013 Update