The phenomenon of youth migration outside the country has increased in recent years for many reasons; foremost among them is the lack of job opportunities, which prompted many to search for better opportunities in other countries. Additionally, the deteriorating security situation, poor economy, and poor services are also reasons that so many young people in federal Iraq and the Kurdistan region felt without hope and forced them to search for better alternatives elsewhere.
The Ministry of Planning announced, that with the spread of COVID-19 the poverty rate in Iraq has increased to approximately 32% in 2020, compared to 20% in 2019. As the political and economic situation continues to deteriorate, the country’s chance of achieving economic growth and a better situation for its citizens is limited. Due to the financial crisis, 800,000 people have been unemployed throughout over Iraq in the last seven years.
The director-general of statistics said,” Unemployment is a reason for the current situation, and in the next year we will start to collect the accurate statistics about the poverty and unemployment rates in order to start better planning for 2021. A full-scale investigation will be conducted to find out the poverty rate and the unemployment rate”.
Young civil society activists faced the most difficult conditions because of the severe security threats they have experienced. Human rights defenders try to confront and overcome the threats they and their families face, but the risks sometimes reach levels that they cannot continue to suffer. Also, many young activists fear staying in the country as a result of their active participation in the protest movement that began in October 2019. Many militias and armed groups are pursuing them in an attempt to silence their voices and prevent them from continuing the struggle to demand political reform.
The High Commission for Human Rights in Iraq has warned of “the dangers of increasing illegal immigration to outside of Iraq, especially from youth and families, as it affects the future of the country,” calling on the government to “put in place plans to attract youth energies.”