Protection Cluster Iraq - Protection Analysis Report, Right to identity and civil documentation, 2021

This report analyses the risk of identity and civil documentation, including Birth Certificate, being denied to conflict affected individuals, with the aim to better inform the implementation of legal assistance programs and to support advocacy efforts at the policy level. Many institutional challenges drive this risk upward and represent key barriers for IDPs and returnees in Iraq to access their civil documents, e.g. the administrative processes are often complex and cumbersome due to multiple requirements; the roll-out of the new Unified ID Card is fraught with operational challenges and remains uneven across the country; Civil Affairs Directorates are only partially functional or even closed in many locations; distance, restrictions on freedom of movement, cost of transportation and administrative limitations on the use of Power of Attorney prevent affected individuals from submitting their applications in their areas of origin.

Moreover, different patterns of rights violations have emerged. Sometimes, the right of IDPs and returnees to obtain documentation is deliberately denied by security actors, especially for persons with perceived affiliation to extremist groups, who are usually subjected to multiple requirements related to security clearance and to family denunciation processes. In most cases, the authorities are unable to effectively provide documentation due to limited operational resources dedicated to the Civil Affairs Directorates and to administrative regulations not being adapted to the specific situation of IDPs and returnees.

Since the end of the conflict, legal protection actors have developed effective strategies to overcome some of the barriers and challenges faced by affected individuals to access civil documentation, such as the organization of mobile missions co-organized with the Ministry of Interior (MoI) and local Civil Affairs Directorates, the payment of legal and transportation fees or the use of Power of Attorney whenever it is authorized. However, some changes at the institutional and policy level are needed to address the scale of the issue, such as issuing directives clarifying that acquiring identity and civil documents does not require prior security clearance or tribal denunciation processes; resolving the operational issues stalling the roll-out of the Unified ID Card; authorizing displaced individuals to obtain documentation at their location of displacement; and easing procedures for female-headed household to pass their Iraqi citizenship onto their children.