|Full Title:||Tackling barriers to safe, sustained and voluntary return of internally displaced people in Nineveh.|
|Lead Fellow:||Henriette Johansen, Kamaran Palani|
|Project in Brief:||The project will provide a new perspective on barriers to safe, sustained and voluntary return and stabilisation in Nineveh Plains and Western Nineveh.|
|Term:||2019 - 2020|
|Most Recent:||Publications and Events|
Displacement in Nineveh has historically been governed by political agendas, as a consequence of the persecution of minorities or following economic incentives. As such, it has become evident how current efforts to stabilise and develop community resilience in Nineveh Plains and Western Nineveh have been complicated by political factors: firstly, due to the areas’ disputed status between the Government of Iraq (GoI) and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG); secondly, the economic and political instrumentalisation of the districts’ heterogeneous makeup, including Sunni Arab, Kurdish, Turkmen, Christian, Yazidi and Shabak communities; and finally, the current protracted displacement which has shifted ideas of belonging and return.
Recently published studies conducted by MERI, sponsored by USIP, on perceptions of conflict and reconciliation among minorities and recent data from USIP’s Conflict and Stabilization Monitoring Framework for Nineveh highlighted several key findings:
- All the communities in the target areas have security concerns stemming from tensions and potential violence from inter and intra-communal dynamics, armed groups such as the Popular and/or Tribal Mobilization Forces, security forces of the GoI and KRG, and remnants of ISIS.
- A strong sense of political and social marginalization characterizes the Christian community in Hamdaniya and Tal Kief districts (Nineveh Plains), and Yazidis and Sunni Arabs in Sinuni (Western Nineveh).
- The majority of Shabak, Christian and Yazidi displaced persons and returnees from Nineveh Plains believe provincial and national governing institutions and leaders in their locations are ineffective and unresponsive to their needs.
- Christians from Hamdaniya district and Tal Kief, and Yazidis from Sinjar/Sinuni overwhelmingly identify with their sect and believe local political authorities provoke identity divisions to gain support.
- Economic needs and feelings of insecurity are perceived to be the main drivers of armed group recruitment for Christians and Shabak in Hamdaniya and Yazidis in Sinjar/Sinuni.
- The majority of Christian returnees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Hamdaniya district and Tal Kief, along with Yazidis in Sinjar/Sinuni, underscore deep concerns about changing demographics in their areas that have occurred since 2014.
In other words, there are new realities at play in Nineveh province since 2014, such as a myriad of security actors tied to international actors, Baghdad or Erbil; and the emergence of internal divisions among minority groups. These highlight the need to understand and engage community dynamics and key governing authorities on the district, provincial and national level, in order to find durable and lasting solutions that quell instability in the targeted territories.
Through mixed method and in-depth research analysis, MERI aims to give a new perspective on barriers to safe, sustained and voluntary return and stabilisation in Nineveh Plains and Western Nineveh.
MERI will use existing data on barriers to return and challenges of stabilization within the target areas’ complex post-liberation realities to form a meta-analysis. This will provide insights into the historical dynamics behind gender-, district- and sect specific barriers to return. Subsequently the project will design a stakeholder position analysis focused on the views, roles and responses of communities, and key government and political authorities on the provincial, regional and national levels. In addition, the research will result in a mapping of current initiatives being undertaken by local, provincial and national government, civil society and other actors to address these barriers. The mapping will seek not only to identify existing efforts, but also recent shortcomings, failures and critical initiative gaps that inhibit return processes and longer-term stabilization and resilience efforts.For more information please contact us at info[AT]meri-k.org