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Last updated: January 2021

Kerbala governorate is located in the central part of Iraq and borders Anbar, Najaf, and Babil governorates. It is divided into the following districts: Ain Al-Tamur, Al-Hindiya, Kerbala. The provincial capital is Kerbala. The governorate has an estimated population of 1 250 806, with the majority being Shia Arabs.

Kerbala governorate is under the control of the ISF. Presence of PMU was also reported. Southern Iraq is considered ‘more secure’ than other parts of the country. While ISIL never held territory in Kerbala, it staged attacks on Shiite targets in the governorate, causing civilian casualties. A wave of anti-government protests erupted in southern Iraq, including in Kerbala governorate, which claimed casualties due to live ammunition and disproportionate and/or improper use of tear gas and stun grenades used by the ISF. Civilian casualties due to US airstrikes against Iran-backed militias were also reported.

ACLED reported a total of 57 security incidents (average of 0.7 security incidents per week) in Kerbala governorate in the reference period, the majority of which coded as riots. Battles, explosions/remote violence and violence against civilians were also reported in this period. Security incidents occurred in all districts of the governorate, with the largest overall number being recorded in the district of Kerbala. UNAMI recorded 16 armed conflict related incidents, 8 taking place in 2019 and 8 from 1st January until 31st July 2020 (average of 0.2 security incidents per week for the full reference period).

In the reference period, UNAMI recorded a total of 18 civilian casualties (14 deaths and 1 injured) in the aforementioned armed conflict related incidents. More specifically, 17 casualties were reported in 2019 and 1 casualty was reported from 1st January until 31st July 2020. Compared to the official figures for the population in the governorate, this represents 1 civilian casualty per 100 000 inhabitants for the full reference period.

As of 30 June 2020, Kerbala governorate hosted a total of 15 558 IDPs, the vast majority of whom originated from Ninewa. No returns to Kerbala governorate were recorded.

Looking at the indicators, it can be concluded that indiscriminate violence is taking place in the governorate of Kerbala at such a low level that in general there is no real risk for a civilian to be personally affected by reason of indiscriminate violence within the meaning of Article 15(c) QD. However, individual elements always need to be taken into account as they could put the applicant in risk-enhancing situations.

Main COI reference: Security situation 2020, 4.2