On the occasion of World Humanitarian Day, the United Nations in Iraq is raising awareness of the plight of the 1.1 million Iraqis who are registered as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), driven to flee because of eviction, urbanization, conflict or political strife.
“IDPs are among Iraq’s most vulnerable populations,” said Jacqueline Badcock, United Nations Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq (DSRSG) for Development and Humanitarian Affairs.
“They are often traumatized and frightened, at constant risk of homelessness. In makeshift dwellings and temporary accommodation, they struggle to buy food and to access healthcare and education.”
Successive waves of conflict have displaced communities all over the country in past years. Iraq now has the second-highest number of IDPs in the Middle East, after Syria. “Many of these IDPs struggle to find decent work,” continued Ms. Badcock. “Often, they are not recognized by the authorities, so they cannot vote or own property. Women and girls are at risk of gender-based violence and literacy levels are shockingly low.”
Ms. Badcock said that the upsurge in violence this year has caused a new wave of displacement, with figures from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) citing Baghdad as the worst-affected governorate.
“The Government and the humanitarian community need to mobilize quickly to ensure that this situation does not become protracted,” said Ms. Badcock. “These are Iraqis, seeking refuge within the borders of their own country. They need protection and support to integrate into their new communities or to be returned to their homes. IDPs face an uncertain and difficult future, unless we redouble our efforts.”
The United Nations implements a range of life-saving, livelihood and empowerment projects for IDP communities throughout Iraq, in coordination with NGOs and Government partners. Ms. Badcock stressed the need to build on and implement policies and practices for better coordination, with an emphasis on long-term, durable solutions.
For further information on the plight of IDPs in Iraq, see the UN in Iraq Fact Sheet.
(Source: United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq)