Reasons to Remain: Categorizing Protracted Displacement in Iraq

As the ISIL conflict ceased across Iraq, conflict-affected areas in the country experienced an uptick in returns of their internally displaced populations. The pace of this return, however, appears to be slowing, leaving the populations who still remain behind either in, or at risk of, protracted internal displacement.

The result of this kind of displacement is the inability of internally displaced persons to progress toward finding a resolution to their displacement, whether it is eventual return, integration, relocation or some combination thereof.

At present, there is limited consensus on what exactly these reasons for displacement are and roughly how many people are affected by each of these reasons. Having such knowledge, though, is a key step in developing a comprehensive strategy for durable solutions for Iraq.

As such, the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) Unit, the Returns Working Group (RWG), and Social Inquiry, with input and support from the Ministry of Migration and Displacement (MoMD) within the Federal Government of Iraq, have conducted an in-depth analysis of existing large-scale datasets as well as other geographically targeted surveys and qualitative studies.

The report provides a brief overview of the theoretical underpinnings of protracted displacement and their implications in the Iraq context, the methodology for this desk review and analysis, a time series of IDP movements, the categorization of reasons IDPs may still be displaced, and a discussion of findings.

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