The criterion of safety would be satisfied where the following two aspects have been established:
✓ absence of the initial persecution or serious harm
With regard to protection needs related to refugee status, Article 15(a) QD and Article 15(b) QD, this should be examined in light of the elements below.
✓ no potential new forms of persecution or serious harm
These elements should be examined based on the general situation in the respective part of Iraq and the individual position and personal circumstances of the applicant, including elements such as background, gender, age, etc. (see Article 8(2) QD in reference to Article 4 QD).
Absence of persecution or serious harm
► general security situation
The general security situation in particular in the cities of Baghdad, Basrah and Erbil should be assessed in accordance with the analysis under the section on Article 15(c) QD.
► actor of persecution or serious harm and their reach
In case where the person fears persecution or serious harm by State actors, there is a presumption that IPA would not be available (e.g. persons perceived to be associated with ISIL). In specific cases, where the reach of a certain State actor is clearly limited to a particular geographical area (e.g. a PMU, the KRG, the Peshmerga), the criterion of safety may be satisfied with regard to other parts of Iraq.
With regard to persecution or serious harm by ISIL, it should be noted that the operational capacity of the armed group has decreased, however, it is still active in certain regions.
In some cases, where the applicant faces persecution or serious harm for reasons related to the prevalent tribal and social norms in Iraq and the actor of persecution or serious harm is Iraqi society at large (e.g. LGBTIQ persons, certain ethno-religious minorities), IPA would in general not be considered safe.
For certain particularly vulnerable individuals, such as women and children, if the actor of persecution or serious harm is the (extended) family, tribe or community (e.g. fasliya marriage, FGM), taking into account the reach of these actors and the lack of State protection, IPA would in general not meet the requirement of safety.
It should be underlined that it cannot be reasonably expected that the applicant abstains from practices fundamental to his or her identity, such as those related to their religion or sexual orientation, in order to avoid the risk of persecution or serious harm.
See the section Actors of persecution or serious harm.
► whether or not the profile of the applicant is considered a priority target and/or a threat by the actor of persecution or serious harm
The profile of the applicant could make him or her a priority target for the State or for insurgent groups, increasing the likelihood that the actor of persecution or serious harm would attempt to trace the applicant in the potential IPA location.
► personal enmity
Some private disputes, including those based on honour and blood feuds, could strengthen the determination of the actor of persecution or serious harm to trace the applicant.
► other risk-enhancing circumstances
The information under the section Analysis of particular profiles with regard to qualification for refugee status should be used to assist in this assessment.
Availability of protection against persecution or serious harm
Alternatively, the case officer may determine that the requirement of safety is satisfied if the applicant would have access to protection against persecution or serious harm, as defined in Article 7 QD, in the area where IPA is considered. In the case of persecution by the State, a presumption of non-availability of State protection applies.
See the chapter on Actors of protection above.