Never Forget: Views on Peace and Justice Within Conflict-Affected Communities in Northern Iraq

Publication language
Date published
10 Jun 2020
Research, reports and studies
Engaging with affected populations, Humanitarian-development-peace nexus, Peacebuilding, Post-conflict, International law

This survey offers a snapshot of the perceptions and attitudes about peace and justice within communities affected by the conflict with the Islamic State (IS). It is based on 5,213 interviews conducted in 2019 among a representative sample of internally displaced persons in northern Iraq and residents of the city of Mosul and surrounding areas. The research documents a severe lack of trust in official institutions, particularly in the Government of Iraq itself, stemming in large part from the belief that these institutions do not act in the best interest of the population. Few respondents had confidence in the Government of Iraq’s ability to investigate the crimes committed by the Islamic State fairly and accurately and to provide justice to survivors of the conflict. Despite the mistrust, respondents favor local justice and truth-seeking mechanisms. They view these efforts as necessary to build a durable peace, alongside measures to address the root causes of the rise of IS and longstanding divisions between the people of Iraq.

However, rather than the challenge being diversity itself, the challenge is the Government of Iraq’s ability to promote and facilitate reconciliation and unity. Without an accountable government that is perceived to be legitimate and is trusted by all Iraqis, calls for justice and accountability may go unanswered, and the country risks slipping back into another conflict.

The research was conducted by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative in partnership with Mosul University and the Iraq-based Public Policy Institute. It was supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, which played no role in the design, analysis or publication of the research.

Al-Saiedi, A. , Coughlin, K. ,  Irwani, M. , Ibrahim Khalil, W. , Pham, P. N. & Vinck, P.