When Forced Migrants Return Home: The Psychosocial Difficulties Returnees Encounter in the Reintegration Process

2003Tania Ghanem Refugee Studies Centre

Since the 1980s onwards, voluntary repatriation has been promoted by governments, NGOs and UN agencies as the ultimate solution to refugees displacement. Policy makers, donor countries, practitioners and researchers have typically disregarded, or at least overlooked, the meaning of repatriation from the returnees’ point of view. It is assumed that beyond the technical aspects of repatriation, the return of forced migrants to their country of origin does not raise any particular challenge to those concerned. A returnee is perceived as the reverse condition of a refugee. While refugees are seen as uprooted and displaced, returnees are considered to be naturally re-rooted and placed back in the right order of things.

Key wordsforced migration / reconstruction / refugees / repatriation