Geneva – The continued plight of Iraqi internally displaced persons (IDPs) has demotivated many from effectively participating in the election since they have not sensed any significant changes to their situation after the last two rounds, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor and GIWEH said in a joint speech at Human Rights Council's 50th session.
The acute vulnerability, despair, and needs of Iraqi IDPs, who have been stuck in this limbo for over seven years, have made them easy targets for exploitation and manipulation, as candidates use money and false promises of resettlement or compensation to IDPs to garner their votes.
In her speech to the council, Euro-Med Monitor's Migration and Asylum Researcher, Michela Pugliese, said that despite the completion of the procedures related to IDPs’ votes, including opening 309 voting stations for IDPs across the country, many abstained from voting due to the feeling of betrayal and failure to fulfill the promises made by members of the House of Representatives in its last two sessions before the last elections.
Pugliese pointed out that Iraq’s electoral process has disadvantaged IDPs disproportionately, especially the thousands trapped in tents and camps, lacking the necessary resources to run in elections and organize a successful campaign.
The statement stressed the need to enable IDPs to run in elections to genuinely allow them to have a representing voice in decision-making halls to work on improving their living conditions and end their suffering.
In June 2021, Euro-Med Monitor released a report documenting the suffering of displaced Iraqis on the humanitarian level. The report found that they suffer an acute shortage of food and clean water, a lack of sources of income, and the aggravation of health and education problems, as well as the inability of a large number of them to return to their original homes.
The report cited a set of reasons why IDPs are unable to return to their original governorates and homes, including the massive destruction of their housing, land, and property, risks related to the security conditions in the areas and governorates of the original displaced, and not allowing the displaced families if one of their members fought in the ranks of ISIS to return to their original areas.
It also confirmed the existence of a real crisis among IDPs in terms of food security, water, education, electric power, fuel, and waste removal, in addition to a significant shortage of medicines for chronic diseases and the treatment of skin diseases, as well as a scarcity of medical devices such as laboratory equipment.
Oral statement text:
In September 2021, approximately 120,000 internally displaced persons in Iraq were eligible to cast their votes in the country’s general election. Of those, 37,000 have been living in camps throughout Iraq’s three elections in the last seven years.
Many Iraqi IDPs have put substantial hope on elections as an opportunity to bring their plight to prominence and end their suffering.
Two days before the election, Iraq’s High Electoral Commission completed the procedures related to IDPs vote, including opening 309 voting stations for IDPs across the country. The Commission also issued biometric cards to IDPs and used fingerprint scanners to match their IDs to prevent voter fraud.
Nonetheless, Iraq’s electoral process has disadvantaged IDPs disproportionately, especially the thousands trapped in tents and camps who lack necessary resources to run for elections and organize a successful campaign.
The acute vulnerability, despair and needs of Iraqi IDPs, who have been stuck in this limbo for over 7 years, have made them easy targets for exploitation and manipulation, where candidates use money as well as untrue promises of resettlement or compensation to IDPs to garner their votes.
The continued plight of Iraqi IDPs has also contributed to demotivating many of them from voting in the election since they haven’t sensed any significant changes to their situation after the last two rounds.
Euro-Med Monitor and GIWEH emphasize that enabling IDPs to run in elections to paramount to genuinely enable them to have a representing voice in decision-making halls.