Obstacles to Return in Retaken Areas of Iraq

The Obstacles to Return in Retaken Areas of Iraq delves into the principal push and pull factors limiting the willingness of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to return to their place of origin.

The qualitative and quantitative data collection was carried out in eight recently retaken sub-districts through interviews with IDPs. Data retrieved in these surveys show that security in the areas of origin topped all other factors in influencing IDPs’ decision to return or remain displaced.

Proximity to the frontline – and perceived instability in the place of origin – remains the most relevant obstacle for return.

Feelings of trust towards the security actors in control of the areas of origin promotes a higher number of returns, while fear of security actors in the place origin is a strong drawback and reinforces the perceived advantage of staying in displacement.

Fear of reprisal back home is a concern for over 30 per cent of all IDPs interviewed. However, this perception is much lower among interviewed returnees (10 per cent).

Livelihood options and previous or current employment status also play an important role in influencing the decision to return. IDPs who have jobs in the location of displacement are less inclined to return home. By contrast, those who are unemployed appear to be more likely to return to seek new opportunities.

The data suggest that damage to housing does not constitute an obstacle to return, although the presence of actors whom IDPs hold responsible for the damage inflicted in a given location is.

The study shows that almost a quarter of interviewed IDPs who decided to return were prevented from doing so, mostly by delays in processing their documentation, or by being stopped at checkpoints on the way back to their place of origin.

The Obstacles to return in retaken areas of Iraq report can be downloaded at the following link.

All DTM products and information about the DTM methodology can be found on the DTM portal: iraqdtm.iom.int