As part of its advocacy efforts the NGO Coordination Committee for Iraq (NCCI) organized an advocacy event in Geneva titled “Durable Solutions for Displaced People in Iraq: Setting a Framework in a Protracted Crisis.” The event took place on 26 October at the Swiss Mission to the UN in Geneva and was organized in cooperation with NRC, IRC, Oxfam, PAX and Save the Children with support of SDC.
The event is timely given the increasing number of IDP returns being seen in Iraq and the discussions currently taking place between all actors engaged in the humanitarian response to ensure displaced Iraqis can pursue options for their futures which are well informed, voluntary and dignified.
The event consisted of two panel discussions in which the participants discussed challenges related to returns and explored possible durable solutions for the displacement crisis Iraq is currently facing. During the first discussion the panelists, who included representatives from local and international NGOs operating in Iraq as well as UN agencies and external experts, identified a number of key challenges regarding returns in Iraq. First of all there is a lack of basic services in the areas of return; the conditions in these areas of return are also not sufficiently clear for the returnees. Often the security in these areas can also not be guaranteed. Secondly certain policies and practices prevent some groups from returning to their areas of origin, while other displaced groups are forced to return. The panelists concluded that the current return movement is coerced, adding that there are serious protection risks for returnees, especially in the so-called disputed territories.
The second panel discussion focused on the historical perspective of displacement in Iraq. Iraq has seen waves of displacement going back to the 1970’s, and the current displacement crisis adds another layer to an already complex situation. The main conclusion from this session was that all actors involved, in particular humanitarian and development actors, need to cooperate from an early stage to ensure that durable solutions are implemented and carried through once humanitarian actors leave.
Ultimately the panel discussions resulted in a number of conclusions. Durable solutions should be taken into account much earlier during the emergency; a coordinated and collaborative effort towards different durable solutions- not only returns - is needed; and all actors, including the government and the development actors need to understand their roles and cooperate in their efforts.
This event is the start of a wide process of consultations discussing these issues, which will involve different actors in Iraq, including the government and provincial authorities.
-This event was made possible by the generous support of SDC-