Iraq is one of the most heavily mine and explosive remnants of war contaminated countries in the world, with extensive numbers of legacy landmines, cluster munition, improvised explosive devices, and other unexploded ordnances. Since the government of Iraq declared the end of the conflict against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the presence of explosive hazards is one of the reasons preventing internally displaced people from returning to their homes. Moreover, while data collection on victims of explosive hazards is limited, this information is necessary to effectively mobilize resources and plan victim assistance in line with international legal frameworks. In response to this need, Handicap International commissioned a study on explosive hazard victim reporting and data management processes in Iraq. The overall objectives of the study are to:
- Understand what explosive hazard victim reporting and data management processes exist in Iraq;
- Identify who is collecting such information, for which reasons and how it is being shared, and how it is being officially used;
- Identify whether international victim data collection good practices and reporting standards according to the Convention on Cluster Munitions are being implemented, and make concrete recommendations to help meet the standards;
- Understand the successes, shortfalls, and challenges in data collection and information sharing;
- Identify the needs of the data collection community in terms of ensuring sufficient victim reporting and data collection; and
- Identify if and how the data on victims is being collected and used by government authorities and the international fora.
Data collection for this study took place in March 2019 in Erbil, Baghdad and Ninewa governorates in Iraq. In total, the qualitative researcher spent 3 days in Erbil, 4 days in Baghdad, and 6 days in Ninewa governorate to conduct interviews through a snowball approach. In total, 22 interviews were conducted with a variety of stakeholders, including humanitarian mine action actors, government officials, hospital directors, and community leaders.