The SDC is providing financial support of CHF 1.4 million to the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), a non-governmental organisation. The NRC is working to ensure the protection and basic provisioning of the displaced civil population of Iraq. The SDC’s support has been earmarked for the period 1.7.2014–30.9.2015.
Protection and basic provisions in Baghdad for internally displaced Iraqis
In December 2013, another armed conflict started in Iraq’s Anbar province, before rapidly spreading to central and northern Iraq. Large segments of the civilian population were forced to abandon their homes. Many of these refugees have fled to Baghdad, where they are not properly protected and have insufficient basic supplies. The SDC is supporting the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), an international non-governmental organisation working on behalf of internally displaced persons in Baghdad.
Humanitarian Assistance & DRR
Conflict & fragility
Conflict prevention and transformation
Material relief assistance
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
- Norwegian Refugee Council
Around 1.4 million people have been displaced in Iraq since the outbreak of the latest conflict. Of this number, 500,000 are refugees from the province of Anbar who were forced to leave their homes. The majority of these people have fled to Baghdad. Here they are often perceived and stigmatised as members of armed groups fighting against the Shi’ite central government. As the crisis has spread to further regions, many people from other provinces have likewise sought refuge in Baghdad. These internally displaced personsurgently require protection and humanitarian aid. According to the UNHCR, this is the largest wave of displacement in Iraq since the civil-religious war of 2006–2008.
Internally displaced persons in Iraq receive greater protection and better access to basic provisions in Baghdad. In addition, the political and development actors involved should be able to act more quickly, more appropriately, and in accordance with national and international law.
Internally displaced persons in Baghdad
|Directorate/federal office responsible||
International or foreign NGO
|Budget||Current phase Swiss budget CHF 1'425'000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF 1'424'875|
Phase 1 01.07.2014 - 30.09.2015 (Completed)
Precarious situation in Baghdad for internally displaced persons
The wave of displacement within Iraq began with the outbreak of an armed conflict between the Shi’ite central government and parts of the Sunni population in December 2013. The Sunni population feels it has been neglected by the Iraqi government. The UN has estimated that some 1.4 million people are now displaced as a result of the conflict, including more than 230,000 Syrian refugees who have sought sanctuary in the Kurdish part of Iraq.
Many of these internally displaced persons (IDPs) have fled to Baghdad. The situation for these refugees in the Iraqi capital is particularly precarious, as they are often perceived to be members of the armed groups fighting against the central government.
Community centres, strengthening actors, media presence
The NRC works on behalf of internally displaced persons in Iraq. The commitment of this international non-governmental organisation (INGO) includes:
- Implementing targeted activities in community centres
- Expanding the scope of action of local actors
- Raising awareness of the plight of these refugees in the media
Targeted activities in community centres
The NRC has set up a community centre in each of the two secure districts of Baghdad, namely Al-Rasheed and Al-Mansour. In these centres the refugees receive the basic provisions they need to survive. They can also obtain advice and participate in activities, the aim being to help them overcome the traumatic experiences they have lived through. For younger refugees there are a number of education offers in the areas of literacy, computing, and English.
Strengthening the capacity to act of local actors
The NRC imparts in-depth knowledge to around 100 employees of 20 local NGOs in the sphere of advocacy for internally displaced persons. Town hall meetings bring together government representatives, aid recipients, local NGOs, and advisers from different districts of Baghdad. Internally displaced persons can use these occasions to highlight their situation and explain their needs.
Raising awareness of the plight of refugees in the media
The NRC is working to make the situation of internally displaced persons more visible in the media. The NGO intends to raise awareness about this issue among more than 100 local media representatives, including through workshops in community centres where the media professionals can meet internally displaced persons.
Deterioration in conditions for aid organisations
In January 2014, the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which now prefers to be known simply as the Islamic State (IS), exploited the unrest in Iraq for its own interests, capturing the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi. IS also controls parts of eastern Syria.
In June 2014 the group joined forces with other armed groups to seize control of the city of Mosul, which is home to around two million people. These armed groups have used Mosul as a base to strengthen their control of further regions in northern Iraq. Here they have treated ethnic and religious minorities in particular with extreme brutality. Many of the refugees have been displaced on multiple occasions, and are difficult for aid organisations to reach. Thousands of civilians have been killed or wounded.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has described this wave of displacement as the greatest since the end of the civil war in 2008.
Protection, food, clothing, and education for displaced children
The NRC’s project supplements the project of Save the Children Switzerland. The latter organisation works with its partners in the provinces of Kirkuk and Sulaymaniyah in north-eastern Iraq to assist 40,000 internally displaced persons, around half of whom are children. Aid is also to be extended to the province of Salah al-Din if the security situation allows it. The SDC is a partner of Save the Children Switzerland. It is supporting the work of this organisation in Iraq to the tune of CHF 1.3 million for the period 1.7.2014–30.9.2015.
The objectives of Save the Children Switzerland in Iraq include:
- Providing nutrition and other basic goods necessary for survival to displaced children and their families
- Offering psycho-social services for children and young people
- Making educational opportunities available