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Last updated: January 2021
*Minor updates added: June 2022

In addition to the general situation in the area of potential IPA, the assessment whether it is reasonable to settle in that part of the country should take into account the individual circumstances of the applicant.

The individual considerations could relate to certain vulnerabilities of the applicant as well as to available coping mechanisms, which would have an impact in determining to what extent it would be reasonable for the applicant to settle in a particular area.

Please note that this is a non-exhaustive list:

  • Ethno-religious and linguistic background [KSEI 2020, 2; Targeting 2019, 3.4; Internal mobility, 3.3]: The ethno-religious background of the applicant and their linguistic knowledge are determinative when assessing the reasonableness of IPA in parts of Iraq. Kurdish is the most widely spoken language in KRI, while the most widely spoken language in the rest of the country is Arabic. Few Iraqis speak both Arab and Kurdish, which leads to a general language divide between north and south, with some exception, such as in Baghdad, which has a large Kurdish community that speaks both languages. Individuals of an ethno-religious background, which represent a minority in the area, face discrimination. Members of ethnic and religious groups would face difficulties relocating and assimilating into the community in an area dominated by another ethnic or religious group if they would be without familial, tribal, or political networks.
  • Civil documentation [KSEI 2020, 1.3.7, 1.7; KSEI 2021, 3.1; Internal mobility, 2.4]: In Iraq, a combination of civil documentation, namely the civil status ID, the nationality certificate, the Public Distribution System card (PDS) and the residency card these documents is needed for one’s ability to carry on daily life and access basic rights, public services, education, food assistance, housing, employment, to register in order to receive state aid or welfare benefits, to rent a house, to register with the police in one’s neighbourhood, or to sell vehicles or large items. Civil documentation is necessary for movement in and around Iraq and for passage through security checkpoints. The national civil status ID card is issued in the place of origin. However, returning to the area of origin may entail financial and security obstacles. The Iraqi government has also taken the initiative to send mobile units to a certain number of IDP camps in order to issue ID documents. In order to re-acquire an ID card, applicants must present necessary documentation, including security clearance, proof of identity such as birth certificate or ID card of a close relative such as father or grandfather, which is checked against central population registers, as well as a fee. Several sources state that individuals without valid identity documentation have restricted freedom of movement and may be at risk of being arrested. Additionally, women’s ability to access services may be impacted by the difficulty to obtain death or missing person certificates for their husbands or fathers.
  • Support network [KSEI 2020, 1.6]: Recourse to non-State support networks represents the most frequent coping mechanism adopted by all categories of the population to access social protection and economic resources. A support network can be the family network, not restricted to the core family, but also including the extended family, and/or a social network, in particular: friends, employers, members of the same tribe, especially when there is a certain point of contact, etc., taking into account their ability to assist the person in accessing basic subsistence. Family connections play an important role in the Iraqi society, particularly in terms of finding employment and affordable housing. Networks of support are also linked to mainly sectarian political connections, with political parties being the main vehicles through which resources provided by the State are accessed, particularly jobs in the public sector, various social assistance schemes and all administrative services. Those without the associated political party connections, or the wrong party affiliation in a certain place, are at a particular disadvantage. Special consideration should be given in the case of individuals who lived abroad for a long period and who have no relatives in the three cities, as they may often lack the necessary support network.
  • Family status [KSEI 2020,1.4, 1.3.3]: Single people, and in particular single women, may face difficulties when resettling without a support network. Additional obstacles may be related to the family status of the woman, such as being a single mother or a widow, a wife or formerly a wife of an ISIL fighter, etc. According to a COI source, generally in Iraq, it is more difficult for single men to rent houses than apartments or studio apartments.
  • Age [KSEI 2020, 1.5, 1.6]: Young age as well as elderly age could significantly limit the applicant’s access to means of subsistence such as through employment, making him or her dependent on other providers. Therefore, this element should be seen in conjunction with the available support by family or a broader support network. In the case of children, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration, for example, with regard to access to basic education.
  • Gender [KSEI 2020, 1.4]: Women and girls in Iraq may be subjected to discriminatory restrictions and may need the support of a male family member in order to access different services and to exercise certain rights. What is more, women and girls encounter additional difficulties in relation to education, work, housing, etc. Therefore, the gender of the applicant should be taken into account when considering reasonableness in conjunction with their family status and available support.
  • State of health [KSEI 2020, 2.5]: Access to healthcare is strained in various areas of Iraq, making the health status of the applicant an important consideration when assessing the reasonableness of IPA for those who require medical treatment, also taking into account that their state of health may affect their ability to work. For those with disabilities, access to basic subsistence such as through employment would be further limited.
  • Professional and educational background and financial means [KSEI 2020, 2.2]: The professional background of the applicant, their level of education and available financial means should be taken into account when assessing the reasonableness of IPA, and in particular the access of the applicant to means of basic subsistence.

It should be noted that these factors would often intersect in the case of the particular applicant, leading to different conclusions on the reasonableness of IPA. In some cases, more than one element of vulnerability would confirm a conclusion that IPA is not reasonable for the particular applicant (e.g. individual from an ethno-religious minority without a support network, unaccompanied child), while in other cases, they would balance each other (e.g. elderly person with a support network).


 Continue reading the common analysis on the reasonableness to settle: