Balancing the Rights of Displaced, Returning and Remaining Populations: Learning from Iraq

Nadia Siddiqui

Forced Migration Review 57, February 2018, pp. 64-65


The return of 3.1 million IDPs to their places of origin in Iraq is seen as a benchmark of success. The article highlights critical questions related to mitigating competing rights and protection needs of those who stayed, returned IDPs, and those still displaced. IDPs who have already returned may have particular protection concerns and grievances against those who have not yet returned, e.g. in northern Nineveh those that have yet to return are perceived to be affiliated with ISIS. The author recommends that: (a) a returns strategy should recognize victims’ needs to address suffering, taking into account all perpetrators of abuse; (b) a transparent process for vetting people for return should be in place; (c) clear criteria should be established for what constitutes ISIS affiliation, and the punishment that will be meted out according to the degree of affiliation; and (d) social cohesion and peace building efforts should be expanded to include those who are still displaced, before any further returns take place.