EASO COI Report. Actors of protection


The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of the structure, functions, and effectiveness of the justice and security sectors of the government of Iraq, in their role as state actors of protection. The primary focus of the report is on the state’s functioning in protecting and guaranteeing the protection of its citizens in the context of civilian security and justice. The central institutions that fulfil critical functions such as the Ministries of Interior and Defence, as well as the judiciary are examined in terms of capacity, mandate, effectiveness and integrity. Further institutions, such as the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights are also examined. Given the distinct governance of Kurdistan, institutions in that region were also included as part of this report. Given the large-scale broad proliferation of state-aligned militias, non-aligned groups and other security actors in Iraq post-ISIL, this report is limited to an overview of the main actors of the state.

This report was co-drafted by the EASO COI sector with research contributions from the COI unit of the Romanian General Inspectorate for Immigration, Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Furthermore, the following national asylum and migration departments have contributed by reviewing this report together with EASO:

Estonia, Estonian Police and Border Guard Board

Slovakia, Migration Office, Department of Documentation and Foreign Cooperation.

Additionally, the following individual expert reviewed this report:

Dr. Geraldine Chatelard, Contemporary Historian and Social Anthropologist. Dr. Chatelard is an independent consultant and social scientist currently associated with the Iraq (Erbil) branch of the Institut français du Proche-Orient (French Institute in the Near East). For the past 15 years, she has conducted research and written on migration and displacement issues in the region, including the socioeconomic and humanitarian situation in Iraq. Since 2014, she spends on average one third of her time conducting field research in various regions of Iraq (Kurdistan, Baghdad, Najaf, Karbala, Basra and other southern governorates, and more recently Mosul) including on forced displacement, the return and reintegration of migrants and refugees, and the politics of religious identities.

The drafting of this report was finalised in November 2018.

This report was written according to the EASO COI Report Methodology.


As a result of an increase in violence and terrorist acts, the security and human rights situation in Iraq has deteriorated since 2013 and further escalated with the ground offensive that IS launched in June 2014. This has led to a bloody internal armed conflict. Citizens are being targeted by the conflicting parties for ethnic, religious or political reasons. In 2015, the military pressure on IS increased and the Iraqi Security Forces, backed by Shia militias and the Peshmerga, recaptured some areas from it. In 2016, IS lost more ground to government forces. The recapture of IS-controlled areas has clearly led to an improvement in the general security situation in Iraq. In 2017, violence continued to decrease in Baghdad.

The available information shows that there are still significant differences in the level of violence and the impact of the IS ground offensive according to the region considered. These strong regional variations characterise the security and human rights situation in Iraq. This means concretely that the situation in Central Iraq is different from the situation in South Iraq and the Kurdish Autonomous Region.


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