Encouraging reintegration from Al Hol Camp to Salah al-Din and the Baghdad Belt in Iraq

September 28, 2022

Photo: UNDP Iraq. 2022.

Following the defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), dedicated efforts are required to address the prolonged displacement of families across Iraq. The Government of Iraq, with support from UN agencies, is working to support the safe return and reintegration of internally displaced persons (IDPs), including families with perceived affiliation to ISIL.

In support of efforts to end protracted displacement through proactive measures to facilitate access to durable solutions, UNDP and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) are working with the Government of Iraq to support the return and reintegration of displaced Iraqi families with perceived affiliation to ISIL, including those returning from Al Hol Camp in North-east Syria.


On 27 August 2022, more than 65 participants – including community and tribal leaders and local authorities from Salah al-Din and the surrounding Baghdad area (Baghdad Belt) - took part in a workshop organized by UNDP and IOM Iraq, in partnership with the Office of the National Security Advisory (ONSA). Representatives from the Ministry of Migration and Displacement (MOMD) and other relevant government agencies also took part in the session, hosted in Erbil. The workshop aimed to foster understanding and enhance community readiness among local leaders to facilitate the return and reintegration of displaced Iraqis in their communities of origin. Previous workshops have encouraged similar reintegration in Anbar and Ninewa governorates.

During the workshop, the importance of community acceptance in facilitating the return and reintegration of Iraqi families currently in Al Hol Camp in their areas of origin - in Salah al-Din Governorate and the Baghdad Belt area - was emphasized. This includes an important task for community leaders and local government: taking the lead in supporting and encouraging the reintegration of returnee families, with support from UNDP and IOM.


“In partnership with the Iraqi government, UNDP’s approach to ensuring community readiness for reintegration is focused on setting the stage for holistic and sustainable community returns,” said Nadia Alawamleh, Team Leader of the Social Cohesion Pillar at UNDP Iraq. “As these meetings continue and expand to more Iraqi governorates, our joint efforts for durable solutions are contributing to a vision of reconciliation and social cohesion across Iraqi communities.”

“Identifying durable solutions for displaced Iraqis, including those with perceived affiliation to ISIL, is crucial and will require support from communities in areas of origin or areas of resettlement. IOM, in partnership with the Government of Iraq (GoI) and in coordination with our partners, will continue to support communities and local authorities in addressing critical social tensions and community-level barriers to the return of internally displaced persons,” said Robert Natiello, Head of IOM Iraq’s Peacebuilding and Stabilization Division.

“This meeting included representation from various components of society including tribal sheikhs, dignitaries, and key stakeholders from Salah al-Din and the Baghdad area,” added Mr. Saeed Al-Jiashi, Strategic Advisor at the National Security Advisory. “The return of women and children from Al Hol Camp to Jeddah 1 Rehabilitation Center and eventually their communities was discussed, including concerns from community members, and this level of coordination and related meetings will continue.”

Photo: UNDP Iraq. 2022.

In 2020, UNDP Iraq launched a dedicated five-year Social Cohesion Programme to promote stronger, peaceful, and more cohesive communities in all areas of Iraq. The Community-based Reconciliation and Reintegration Project supports the community readiness, return, and reintegration of families perceived to be affiliated with ISIL, who are often among the most marginalized and vulnerable, as well as supporting host families in areas of return.