The quick decision of the Iraqi government to close several refugee camps for internally displaced people (IDPs) leaves thousands Iraqis with no place to go amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and winter. Iraqi government began shutting down ten camps across the country in mid-October, and it has announced its intention to close more camps before the end of 2020 and find solutions for displaced people.
However, the Norwegian Refugee Council, a humanitarian organization working with displaced people in over 30 countries, warned in a recent press release that closing camps in Iraq hastily and before residents know if they can return to their homes leave them more vulnerable than ever.
There are at least 240,000 internally displaced people in camps across Iraq, thousands of children among them. They were forced to leave their homes because of war during the fighting with ISIS. They are a portion of at least 37 million people who have been displaced as a result of the so-called “War on Terror” since September 11, 2001, according to a Brown University report.