Global Report 2022
2022 Year-end population figures
Refugees and asylum-seekers in neighbouring countries: 224,300
IDPs: 1.2 million
IDP returnees: 5.0 million (including 30,100 in 2022 alone)
Stateless persons: 47,100
2022 Situation overview
In 2022, Iraq continued to face protracted humanitarian and development needs within a complex political environment and a volatile security situation, while the economic situation became more stable compared to 2021. Inside Iraq, the needs of almost 1.2 million internally displaced people (IDPs) and 5 million IDP returnees remained high, with 26 IDP camps hosting some 180,000 people. Many IDPs and returnees continued to face security and protection risks, such as eviction from informal sites, insecurity, lack of livelihood opportunities, and financial resources. In addition, many IDPs encountered significant barriers to return such as damaged houses in areas of origin and obstacles to reintegration. Over 430,000 IDPs and IDP returnees lacked at least one type of civil documentation. A lack of civil documentation impedes people’s ability to access basic public services such as education, health care and social security benefits, and can lead to restricted freedom of movement, increased risk of arrest and detention, exclusion from restitution and reconstruction programmes, and an inability to participate in public affairs in the country.
In 2022, UNHCR continued the gradual transition from an emergency response to a longer-term development approach. UNHCR focused on scaling up its efforts to empower IDPs, returnees, refugees and host communities by promoting social protection systems and refugee and IDP access to public services such as health care and education, as well as improving access to the labour market and livelihood opportunities. This included working towards transforming camps into formal settlements with public services and encouraging peaceful coexistence. UNHCR also strengthened partnerships with development actors to better ensure the systematic inclusion of forcibly displaced and stateless people into national development plans and development-oriented programmes. UNHCR led and coordinated the Protection, Camp Coordination and Camp Management, and Shelter/Non-Food Items (NFI) clusters for the IDP response. The clusters were deactivated in December 2022 as part of the shift toward development interventions, with a focus on durable solutions, under the UN Sustainable Development and Cooperation Framework in Iraq.
UNHCR and partners provided legal assistance to 48,805 individuals and secured civil documentation for 72,178 IDPs. UNHCR also provided child protection services to around 6,250 boys and girls at risk, and case management services and psychosocial support to around 7,500 survivors of gender-based violence. More than 21,000 girls, boys, women and men were also reached through gender-based violence awareness-raising activities. UNHCR provided cash assistance and core relief items to 36,000 most vulnerable families to enable them to pay rent, buy food and other essentials, with the aim of decreasing the use of harmful coping mechanisms such as reducing food consumption and child labour.
UNHCR led the protection response for 284,300 refugees and asylum-seekers, most originating from the north-east of the Syrian Arab Republic. Over 8,000 refugees received monthly cash assistance, 250,000 received medical consultations, and over 26,000 Syrian refugee children were enrolled in public schools.
UNHCR, the mandated agency for the protection of stateless persons, worked to ensure that people at risk of statelessness in Iraq had access to civil documents. In 2022, 160 stateless persons or persons with undetermined nationality were assisted with the granting or confirmation of nationality. UNHCR accelerated efforts to end statelessness by the end of 2023 for those entitled by law to Iraqi nationality, including by providing legal assistance, carrying out dedicated surveys to identify stateless and at-risk populations, and providing technical support to the Government of Iraq.
In 2022, UNHCR also provided protection and humanitarian assistance to 224,200 Iraqi refugees and asylum-seekers in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic and Türkiye. During 2022, UNHCR distributed $27.9 million in cash assistance to almost 350,000 Iraqi refugees and IDPs. To respond to the cold and harsh winter months, around 36,600 Iraqi refugees received cash assistance to buy fuel and other items to keep warm during the winter. Due to the limited funding available, UNHCR was only able to provide winter cash assistance to around 67,700 vulnerable Syrian refugees in Iraq, not IDPs. UNHCR has adopted and advocated for an inclusive “one refugee” approach which aims to eliminate differences in rights and services based on a refugee’s nationality.
Around 27,500 Iraqis remained in the Al-Hol and Roj camps in the north-east of the Syrian Arab Republic by the end of 2022. In May 2021, the Government of Iraq commenced the repatriation of Iraqis from Al-Hol camp, and over 3,700 individuals had returned to Iraq by the end of 2022. In the Syrian Arab Republic, UNHCR was present as observer to the process, ensuring returns were voluntary and that vulnerable cases were identified and/or included as priority returns. Upon their return in Iraq, UNHCR led on civil documentation support as the only organization that had provided Al-Hol returnees with civil documents.
In 2022, UNHCR identified over 36,750 Iraqi refugees in need of resettlement, which remains a vital durable solution and a critical demonstration of the international community's solidarity and responsibility-sharing with host countries. Almost 700 Iraqi refugees were submitted for resettlement in 2022 and around 1,730 departed for resettlement from the region. This was an increase from 2021 and 2020, when 1,000 and 1,100 Iraqis departed for resettlement, respectively.
Global Appeal 2023
2023 Population planning figures
Refugees and asylum-seekers in neighbouring countries (including Türkiye): 213,000
IDPs: 1.15 million
2023 situation overview
UNHCR's work in Iraq is rapidly transitioning from an emergency response to a longer-term development approach in line with the international community’s transition to a response more rooted in a sustainable development framework, with the Government authorities in the lead. As of 2023, the clusters will be deactivated in line with the Humanitarian Country Team’s decision to phase out the humanitarian response for IDPs and to focus on durable solutions under the UN Sustainable Development and Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF). UNHCR and OHCHR will co-lead the newly formed Protection Platform, informing and providing strategic guidance, advice and technical support to UNSDCF partners.
At the same time, Iraq will likely continue to face economic, political and security challenges. The needs of the internally displaced and returnee population will remain high. They lack access to basic services and have to cope with destroyed or damaged property and critical infrastructure, a shortage of livelihood opportunities and financial resources in areas of return, and a lack of civil documentation. Refugees will need UNHCR’s support in promoting their self-reliance and integration into national systems and social protection schemes.
In 2023, UNHCR will seek to further enhance the protection environment of refugees, IDPs, IDP returnees and stateless persons by strengthening their economic and social well-being. This will be achieved by enhancing their inclusion in social protection schemes and strengthening their access to national services and employment opportunities. For IDPs, this will be underpinned by prioritizing access to civil documentation. Moreover, UNHCR will continue seeking comprehensive protection and solutions strategies and promoting the sustainability of return through small-scale infrastructure projects.
Global Report 2021
2021 Year-end population figures
- Refugees and asylum seekers in neighbouring countries (including Türkiye): 263,000
- IDPs: 1.2 million
- IDP returns in 2021 alone: 121,000
- Stateless persons: 47,000
2021 Situation overview
In 2021, Iraq’s political and security situation remained fragmented and volatile. The economic downturn due to the fall in oil prices and the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in rising consumer prices and reduced livelihood opportunities.
Inside Iraq, the needs of some 1.2 million internally displaced people (IDPs) and 4.9 million IDP returnees remained high. Around 1 million IDPs lacked at least one type of civil documentation, impeding them from exercising their rights and accessing basic services. IDP families also faced eviction and were affected by the destruction and damage to property and critical infrastructure, the lack of opportunities and financial resources in areas of return.
UNHCR's work in Iraq continued the transition from an emergency response to a longer-term development approach. UNHCR focused on promoting inclusion in social protection schemes, strengthening access to national services and employment opportunities, identifying comprehensive protection and solutions strategies, and promoting the sustainability of IDP returns or local integration by fostering small-scale infrastructure projects through area-based programming for protection and solutions.
UNHCR worked closely with partners, including local authorities, to improve the living conditions of IDPs and returnees, including in response to large-scale camp closures. UNHCR also strengthened partnerships with development actors to better ensure the systematic inclusion of people of concern into national development plans and development-oriented programmes. UNHCR co-led and coordinated the protection, camp coordination and camp management, shelter and NFI clusters for the IDP response.
Close to $18 million in cash assistance was distributed to 306,000 Iraqis in need. 34,500 vulnerable families received core relief items to support their basic needs and mitigate harmful coping mechanisms. More than 5,500 essential secondary and tertiary health care referrals were supported, and legal assistance was provided to some 82,000 Iraqi refugees and IDPs. In response to the harsh winter conditions, some 161,000 Iraqis received cash assistance or core relief items to help them address seasonal needs such as heating.
UNHCR estimates that 38,000 Iraqis are in need of resettlement, which remains a vital durable solution and a critical demonstration of responsibility-sharing by the international community. In 2021, around 1,000 Iraqis departed for resettlement, down from 1,100 in 2020 and 2,100 in 2019.
UNHCR also provided protection and humanitarian assistance to an estimated 276,000 Iraqi refugees registered in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Türkiye. UNHCR has adopted and advocated for an inclusive “one refugee” approach for all people of concern to UNHCR, which aims to eliminate differences in rights and services based on nationality.