International Rescue Committee (IRC)

The IRC in Iraq

two Iraqi girls at school
Photo: Sasha Pippenger/IRC

More than 1.5 million Iraqis — close to 5% of the population —  who fled or were forced from their homes following the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 are still displaced. The International Rescue Committee continues to support their safe return and to ensure that they are protected wherever they may be. Uprooted women and children are especially vulnerable and are at the forefront of our efforts. We are also providing emergency assistance to Syrian refugees who have fled to camps in northern Iraq.

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How We Help


  • The IRC rebuilds schools damaged by war, and trains teachers, reaching close to fifty-thousand students at 130 Iraqi schools.
  • We provide free legal assistance to thousands of Iraqi returnees and displaced persons, as well as to the growing Syrian refugee population.
  • We help displaced community leaders develop their skills in identifying and addressing essential community needs.   
  • We promote healthy families and women’s well-being by providing health, legal and psychosocial services.  
  • We help displaced young people find work and become self-sufficient through savings and credit associations and job training.
  • The IRC ensures that displaced school children have access to clean water and proper hygiene facilities.
  • The IRC works in camps for Syrian refugees where we provide services for women, education for children, legal assistance, and access to clean water and sanitation.  We also mobilize refugees and empower them to ensure their needs are met and their human rights are respected. 

Updated January 2014

Iraqis in Crisis

The withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq left behind a major crisis in the region—with three million Iraqis displaced and desperate and tens of thousands of others in danger because they worked for the U.S. military.  The IRC is providing vital aid and calling the world's attention to their plight.

Iraq Special Report >>

Inside our Work in Iraq

The IRC focuses on supporting those uprooted or impacted by decades of conflict. We arrived in Iraq shortly after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, but, were forced to pull out due to escalating violence three years later. In 2008, we returned, and since then, have worked in two-thirds of Iraq’s 18 provinces, reaching more than 100,000 of those in the greatest need of help.