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New Iraq Report Says Returnees Combat Safety and Security Concerns

01/11/2022 Iraq (International Christian Concern) – A new report by the International Office of Migration (IOM) details the obstacles that Iraqi Christians and returnees face following their displacement by the Islamic State and desire for reintegration. Those returning to the country must combat issues of safety, security and freedom of movement. The highest number of returnees reside in Nineveh Governorate, while Mosul hosts the highest number at the district level.

The IOM report suggests that these key factors pose challenges to the full reintegration of displaced Iraqis. Regarding potential violence and safety issues, nearly half (48%) of all returnees reside in a location where either the Islamic State or splinter groups attacks are concerns. This percentage is even higher in the governorates of Nineveh, Salah al-Din and Diyala. Conflicts between armed groups and security forces as well as community tensions also contribute to insecurity concerns.

The physical protection and security of returnees are reportedly made worse by the many actors involved. Though security forces can aid feelings of protection in returnees, the presence of three or more cause confusion. Nearly half (46%) of returnees reside in a location where three or more actors are present. Those who are non-native forces also contribute to uneasiness.

A final factor identified is restrictions to freedom of movement that limit livelihood, social relations, and feelings of safety. Salah al-Din residents face more restrictions on movements than other governorates. Families forced to return to an area is also extremely common in Nineveh.

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