Decades of wars in Iraq and Yemen and the protracted displacement crisis: The impact on women and children

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Ait Youssef, Iasmin
Wangle, Kai
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Global Campus Human Rights
Decades of armed conflict in Iraq and Yemen have forced millions of Iraqis and Yemenis to flee their homes, with most of them becoming displaced within their own countries. When displacement decreases living standards, increases protection needs, reinforces harmful gender stereotypes and perpetuates socioeconomic disadvantages, women and children, who make up 80 percent of the world’s Internally Displaced Person (IDP) population, are particularly vulnerable. Unlike refugees, who cross an international border, IDPs do not benefit from special protection under international law, leaving individual states as the most important actors in upholding the rights and meeting protection needs of IDPs. For this reason, both Iraq and Yemen have adopted national policies addressing internal displacement based on the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, a non-binding set of standards which outline the protections available and establish best practice regarding IDPs. This paper seeks to examine the main impacts of internal displacement on women and children in Iraq and Yemen in four key areas: (1) security, (2) health, (3) education and (4) livelihood; it outlines how poor outcomes in each adversely affect the others and increase the likelihood of displacement becoming chronic. It further seeks to analyse the two countries’ respective national policies on internal displacement and the humanitarian response through their impacts in the above areas on the most vulnerable IDP communities, namely women and children. It finds that while the countries’ respective IDP policies are a vital first step in addressing the issue, the ensuring of protection needs and rights of IDPs in Iraq and Yemen will require more resources, stable administration, corridors for humanitarian aid and for both countries to hold themselves to their own commitments.
Yemen, Iraq, internal displacement, women, children, security, health, education, protection, humanitarian assistance, internally displaced persons
Iasmin Ait Youssef and Kai Wangle. “Decades of wars in Iraq and Yemen and the protracted displacement crisis: The impact on women and children.” (2022) 6 Global Campus Human Rights Journal