By mid-June, at least 502 unaccompanied/separated children (UASC) had been identified, of whom 77 are still in interim care centers waiting for family tracing and reunification. Interim care arrangements – including fostering care in properly identified and trained families, both temporary and prolonged – remain urgent.
Emotional and well-being initiatives, safe spaces and spaces to play, education opportunities, more structured psychosocial support interventions and case management for the most complex cases remain in high demand. Some of the more specialized services are often not viable due to limited capacity.
While births and deaths are registered, the need for the restitution of confiscated civil status documentation is critical. Work on sorting and matching available documents is now complete. Only an estimated 30% of the total Iraqi population of 30,706, is in possession of valid documentation, and of those only half has a copy. The situation is even worse for Iraqi children. This constitutes an obstacle for families who may want to voluntarily return to Iraq, but some 2,000 Iraqi households have signed up for repatriation through the Government of Iraq. While their intention is preliminary, the possession of documentation is critical for their legal safety. In general, for all displaced populations, the complexity of some of the cases in terms of family relations, determination of lineage/paternity and nationality of newborns, add constraints to the loss and the confiscation.
Old persons and persons with disabilities are neglected, due to lack of qualified staff and sufficient resources to guarantee an adequate response, including at home-based care. Modalities of distribution and accessibility to facilities need attention. More needs to be done to improve mobility, including the provision of assistive devices, as well as outreach and inclusion. Assistance distribution, e.g. of tents, is not tailored to the needs of single persons.
The need for specialized services to address psychological distress caused by GBV as well as the need for reproductive health interventions is still present, despite the scaling up of Reproductive Health professional services. As the camp expands, focus needs to stay on the needs of women and girls; set-up of facilities, lighting and positioning of WASH facilities and selection of distribution sites. Overall, the importance of a robust intervention on the prevention of sexual abuse and exploitation remains paramount, both within humanitarian organizations as well as at inter-agency level.
A total of 12 child protection partners are operational; three lead protection agencies, three Syria-based protection partners and five INGOs operating from NES and cross-border, meeting on a weekly basis for coordination.
Four Protection Information desks are now in the camp and mobile teams are operating in phases 6 and 8. Complaints and requests received are mainly about detained relatives, information on return procedures and receiving permissions to leave the camp as well as access to services, especially water provision. A FAQ and a map of services have been developed to ensure uniform answers. No procedures have been put in place by authorities to inform families about their detained relatives and procedures for return remain unclear. Sectoral Communication with Communities (CwC) efforts need to be strengthened and not rely on Protection actors alone.
Ethical principles for volunteers were developed and rolled out through a training of trainers. Efforts have been made to provide PSEA training to staff and partners. A local inter-agency coordination network was created to discuss ways to reinforce current efforts for preventive action against sexual abuse and exploitation. INGOs are planning to strengthen PSEA throughout the camp with additional sessions and a CBCM (Community based complaint mechanism). Three trainings have been conducted.
Mobile teams and 11 CFSs, including one in the annex hosting 3rd country nationals, are operating. Preparation for two new CFS’s in phase 4 and 7 is ongoing while two are planned in phases 6 and 8. Follow-up on unaccompanied and separated children remains a priority, while interim care arrangements are at full capacity. The capacity to accommodate UASC was strengthened by installing four prefabricated rooms and two shower units in two interim care centers. Training of caregivers continues, including foster families’ initiatives. At least 207 unaccompanied and separated children have been reunified to date. Coordination between leading agencies and partners has improved, with a complete registration of all children in two interim care centers for pursuing tracing/re-establishment of family links.
GBV mobile teams cover needs across the camp with awareness sessions, group and individual counselling, psychological first aid and referrals. Two Women and Girl Safe Spaces (WGSS) are in phases 3 and 4. Additional distributions of sanitary napkins and women dignity kits took place in June. GBV and Reproductive Health services are provided through mobile team in phase 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 along with the WGSS in phase 4.
In response to identified gaps, another GBV mainstreaming session has been organized, to be attended by WASH, Shelter/NFI, health, and food sector staff. Capacity building on GBV is also available to organizations.
An adolescent girls space is in place, providing life skills and literacy courses for girls who are not attending school.
Some gaps and constraints previously identified are still present; e.g. lacking capacity of interim care for UASC; confiscation of personal documentation, language barriers and modalities of continuous access to the annex hosting 3rd country nationals to deliver standardized assistance across the camp.
A continuous need to strengthen protection presence and services remains. The most pressing needs are for professionals to carry out specialized interventions, such as PSS, CP and GBV case management, identification and addressing of disabilities. Foreseeing a prolonged and complex displacement situation, there is a need for professional staff, able to coach and mentor volunteers and set up intervention systems. This gap may be filled with an external surge and an increased overall humanitarian presence in Qamishli.
The current security posture, with defined slots of UN personnel from Qamishli able to enter the camp on any given day, makes coordination and interaction difficult at times.
In certain settings and with certain population profiles, addressing GBV or interacting with women and girls to raise awareness and sensitize on prevention and response has been complex due to traditional social norms. Using reproductive health as an entry point has proven to be the most effective way of overcoming barriers.
Absence of clear policy, further internal guidance in dealing with foreign caseloads – in a manner consistent with international law - including unaccompanied children in the specific context remains a major challenge.
Challenge of access to information, data protection and management issues.