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Supporting Civilians in Ninewa Governorate

NP's Protection Response

In early 2017, NP began working in Iraq to help protect people fleeing violence. NP is now focusing efforts on supporting vulnerable IDPs in camps, people returning to areas that are contested and high-risk, and people located in tense areas near the borders with Turkey and Syria. NP’s country office is located in Erbil and NP is working in Ba’aj, Sinjar, Jeddah 5 IDP Camp, the South Mosul area, and Zummar, all in Ninewa Governorate.

Map of Nineveh Governate's districts, Mosul highlighted

Following a string of 16 camp closures in 2020 and early 2021, only two IDP camps remain open in federal Iraq. In Jeddah 5 IDP Camp, NP focuses on making IDPs feel safe and secure, and helping to improve their access to services. IDPs in the camp face some of the greatest challenges to being able to return to their homes. By consistently conducting patrols during the day and the night, the NP team decreases violence and harassment within the camp, builds trust with community members and leaders in the camp, controls rumors that can escalate to violence, shares timely information about accessing services, finds cases to refer to other humanitarian organizations, and maintains the camps’ civilian character. As needed, the team provides protective accompaniments when IDPs are under threat, are at risk of physical violence, or need access to services. NP convenes meetings between the community and duty bearers to discuss protection concerns, also coordinating with other partner organizations to address these issues. Finally, NP conducts training and awareness-raising sessions on nonviolence for young men and women in the camp, assisting them to become leaders in peace and protection. These trainings have led to the structuring of Youth Protection Teams and Children’s Peace Teams. Members of these groups have already started conducting protection activities, facilitating trainings for their peers, and raising awareness about protection tools among community members. NP continues to mentor and support these groups in their activities and facilitate meetings between these groups and duty bearers, enabling camp residents to advocate for their own capacities and needs.

An important concern for NP is that the relationship between IDPs, returnees, and host communities remains peaceful. In order to address this issue, NP began programming in the areas in South Mosul surrounding Jeddah 5, including villages that are areas of return for many of the displaced families residing in the camp. This was a natural expansion, particularly given camp closures and the resulting increase in secondary displacement in the area. NP is working to increase social cohesion between communities in those areas and camp residents as well as conducting training sessions with young men and women, empowering them to become peace leaders. To reduce harassment and gender-based violence in the area, NP has also been providing a protective presence around markets and girls’ schools.

Map of Nineveh Governate's districts, Sinjar and Baaj highlighted

The Districts of Sinjar and Ba’aj, in northwestern Iraq, were deeply affected by ISIS. Intercommunal tensions between Sunni Arabs and the Yazidi population, survivors of a genocide perpetrated by ISIS, remain to this day. Violence between a variety of armed actors – both local and international – also continues to affect the two districts. These tensions, along with a lack of basic services in most towns and villages, prevents hundreds of people originally from the region from returning home. To help keep communities in the area safe, NP has been conducting patrols around markets and schools to prevent the escalation of disputes, as well as the harassment against women and girls. NP also provides support to existing mediation and reconciliation mechanisms by conducting shuttle diplomacy and mediation whenever needed to de-escalate tensions and help parties reach solutions to violent disputes. To help control rumors and de-escalate tensions when needed, NP is building strong relationships with various local actors. NP is also connecting with a number of local and international organizations to address the lack of basic services and strengthen referral pathways that improve the safety and well-being of local civilians. Finally, NP’s teams in Sinjar and Ba’aj have organized a number of trainings and community security forums to help empower community members, so their voices can be heard and their needs are effectively addressed.

Map of Nineveh Governate's districts, Telafar highlighted

In Zummar sub-district, on the other hand, there are a number of informal settlements where displaced people have relocated since the end of the ISIS occupation. Access to services in these areas is very difficult and many face risk of eviction from the homes they are living in. Here, NP is focused on efforts to empower local women and youth so they can better protect and advocate for themselves. NP provides a safe space for these groups to discuss their protection concerns and develop solutions for issues affecting the community, including with community leaders, service providers and security duty bearers they have previously not been able to access. Training and awareness-raising sessions on Unarmed Civilian Protection tools are also conducted with the aim of enhancing community protection and peacebuilding mechanisms.

NP's impact in iraq

Dignity, Security, and Well-being For All

NP’s work in Iraq is centered around protecting civilians, preventing violence and building peace side-by-side with local communities.
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Protective Presence 

Hold space for peace initiatives

Mentorship on UCP

Foster peaceful coexistence