Life in the margins: Re-examining the needs of paperless people of post-conflict Iraq

Five years after the declared end of the conflict with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Iraq’s recovery remains fragile. While humanitarian needs have reduced since the height of the crisis, many communities remain in need of assistance. Decades of conflict and years of underinvestment also mean that much of the social support infrastructure faces critical gaps, including in terms of capacity to meet residual conflict-related needs. Among those most at risk of exclusion are the one million internally displaced and returnee Iraqis who were missing civil documentation in 2021, such as core identity documents and birth, marriage and death certificates. Without documents, displacement-affected populations can lack legal identity or status and find themselves excluded from key services and facing critical protection risks.

Life in the Margins builds on the research report Paperless People of Post-Conflict Iraq – released in 2019 – to further explore the challenges faced by displacement-affected populations who are missing civil documentation, and how these have evolved in the recent past. It is informed by the programmatic experience of the authoring agencies across nine conflict and displacement-affected governorates in Federal Iraq and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). A review of relevant literature (public and private) was also conducted, further complemented by interviews with a range of other actors, including United Nations (UN) agencies, women’s rights organisations, and sub-national government authorities.

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Danish Refugee Council, International Rescue Committee and Norwegian Refugee Council

Conflict, Displacement