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Securing the Housing, Land, and Property (HLP) rights of all internally displaced persons in Iraq

United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat)

Securing the Housing, Land, and Property (HLP) rights of all internally displaced persons in Iraq


This project will support efforts to establish security of tenure and access to housing, land, and property (HLP) rights for internally displaced persons in Iraq.

After more than five years since the official declaration of the ‘end of war against ISIL’ by the Government of Iraq in late 2017, there are still approximately 5.6 million people in Iraq affected by missing or outdated HLP documentation. It is estimated that 2.4 million people face major challenges with establishing security of tenure, often due to a lack of HLP documentation.

In general, minority populations, including religious and ethnic minorities, displaced women, and people with disabilities face significant challenges in exercising their HLP rights. Discriminatory practices, both formal and informal, can impede their ability to secure and retain property.  Ethnic and religious minorities may encounter prejudice and systemic biases, limiting their access to land and housing. Discrimination based on ethnicity or religion also results in exclusion from certain areas or communities, exacerbating housing disparities. Similarly, women and people with disabilities within minority populations may confront intersectional challenges, as gender or disability biases, both implicit and explicit, compound with other forms of discrimination. Female-headed households remain the most affected population facing increased risk such as violation of HLP rights, secondary displacement, and violence.

The UN-Habitat Iraq Country Programme commits to supporting IDPs and host communities in addressing the barriers to the accessing full enjoyment of HLP rights for all internally displaced Iraqis including women, men, children, and people with disabilities by:

  1. Providing tailored legal assistance to IDPs to register HLP rights claims, with particular focus on female-headed households and displaced women;

  2. Collecting geo-coded property data to develop a database which will be used to issue Land Occupancy Certificates, and the database itself will be accessible to authorities for verification;

  3. Increasing awareness on challenges to accessing HLP rights for IDPs through capacity-building and advocacy activities targeted at government counterparts (central and local levels) to improve knowledge on the range of barriers that impact various groups differently, such as religious and ethnic minorities, displaced women, youth, and people with disabilities; and

  4. Over the 24-month implementation period, this project aims to support the access to HLP rights for 5,000 households (approximately 25,000 individuals) through registering HLP rights claims, issuing Land Occupancy Certificates, and increasing awareness on barriers to full enjoyment of HLP rights for local authorities and relevant Ministries’ counterparts.

This project is aligned with the United Nations and the Government of Iraq’s strategy, vision, and priority to transition from the context of humanitarian assistance to lasting development solutions. This project is complementary to other existing projects under the UN-Habitat Iraq Country Programme, such as those funded by KOICA (The Government of the Republic of Korea) and LAND-at-Scale (The Government of the Netherlands), and is fully in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF), Iraq Vision 2030 and the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) 2020: “A Vision for the Future”, the National Development Plan (NDP) (2018-2022), and Iraq’s National Framework for Reconstruction and Development as well as the government “White paper”.

Further, the proposed program is fully in line with relevant government laws, and policies, including the General Framework Document of the National Plan for the Reconstruction and Development of the Provinces Affected by the Terrorist and Military Operations published by the Ministry of Planning endorsed by the Council of Ministers in June 2019. The UN-Habitat Iraq Country Programme has established a close relationship with various arms of the Government of Iraq including the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Justice. UN-Habitat has secured a strong field presence in various Governorates in Iraq through close community consultations and a history of successful projects, including those in the Ninewa Governorate, which hosts the largest number of IDPs in Iraq. Building on these successful projects, lessons learned will be incorporated for efficient targeting of groups made especially vulnerable through displacement.

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