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(Click here for PDF of Report )The Housing Land and Property (HLP) challenges in Iraq can be separated primarily into two basic overlapping categories, psychological and practical. [1] (Full Report)

From the psychological perspective, there are many challenges with regards the processes of helping the IDP, Stayee and Returnee, regaining trust in the HLP mechanisms, encouraging local ownership of HLP issues and developing communication devices whilst engaging with fragile individuals and communities suffering from post-conflict and/or displacement trauma. HLP challenges are amplified by the heightened combination of misinformation, raw traumatic memories and emotions of conflict and displacement and the social readjustments required after conflict.

From the pragmatic perspective, evidence suggests [2] that the current HLP challenges faced by IDPs are:

  • The management of (the alleged) deliberately destroyed and damaged HLP by the country’s authorities post-conflict

  • The damage to HLP through conflict

  • The lack of finances to pay rent for accommodation

  • The requirement for official documentation to rent a property

  • Overcrowding of urban areas

  • Poor or strained services when IPS temporarily reside

  • Lack of HLP processes and policy

  • Returning IDPs are refused passage

  • Secondary occupation

  • Ownership of HLP (Title Deeds)

  • Hazards from improvised explosive devices (IED)

  • Insecurity caused by fear of the return of ISIS or similar

  • Scapegoating (accusations or ISIS affiliation)

  • Creation of new land and property institutions

  • Illegal sales of property or

  • Illegal construction of additional property on land

  • HLP related trauma (For example, the torture imprisonment and execution in civic or private property) Property that ISIS or those affiliated to ISIS owned or originated from. Land or property used for unofficial burial sites and property used to house other crimes such as rape and slavery.

*All IDPs suffer from emotional HLP challenges which are related to conflict and displacement.

However, during the research stage, the current reoccurring everyday challenges faced by IDP communities in the locations visited can be generally categorised into areas of primary and secondary importance, relative to conditions, context and displacement-stage.

The primary and secondary importance vary depending on the IDPs ethnic orientation, social status and their accommodation (whether the IDPs reside in official camps, unofficial camps within unfinished buildings or renting / sharing accommodation in urban areas such as Mosul).

  • Official Camps

  • The primary HLP challenges are:

  • Receiving Information with regards the condition and ownership of their property

  • Forced Eviction

  • Raising the loss or confiscation of official HLP documentation

  • Access to property and land

  • Vulnerability of households that have a FHOH

  • Financial issues

  • Information about the security factors of returning home

  • IEDs

  • ISIS related issues

  • The secondary HLP challenges are:

  • HLP services

  • Secondary ownership

  • HLP repair

  • Unofficial Camps in unfinished buildings

  • The primary HLP challenges are:

  • Receiving information with regards the condition and ownership of their property

  • Forced eviction

  • Applications for permanent residency

  • The secondary HLP challenges are:

  • HLP services and security in the place of original residency

  • Social cohesion in the place of original residency

  • Renting / sharing accommodation in urban areas

  • The primary HLP challenges are:

  • Overcrowding

  • Forced eviction

  • Services

  • Financial issues

  • Property destruction (those from West Mosul)

  • ISIS cells

  • Secondary occupation

  • Rental issues

  • Local authority support mechanism

  • The secondary HLP challenges are:

  • Property paperwork (ownership)

  • Legal support

  • Punitive action

  • Security

  • The international management local and national governmental redevelopment agencies

The current conflict in northern and central Iraq is the chief reason there is a displacement of over 3 million individuals in Iraq[3] , of whom almost a fifth reside in camps whilst the rest live in makeshift camps in unfinished buildings, stay with family and friends or rent property. Displacement may have peaked in the later part of 2017 however, the demographic of the displaced has changed, and the occurrences of potential disputes are growing now that more families look to return.

The sectarian nature of some aspects of HLP issues and displacement renders a resolution to the housing, land and property crisis much more challenging[4].


[2] NRC Housing, land and property (Hlp) Training

[3] Emergency response to Housing, Land and Property issues in Iraq, Briefing note | December 2016 Matthew Flynn & Stuart Brooks

[4] Protection and ICLA Needs Assessment Summary Report for East Mosul. Erbil, Iraq. September 2017

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