Humanitarianism and Return

Humanitarianism and Return: Compromising Protection

In many contexts around the world, states use funding for humanitarian programming as an active part of their attempts to manage populations displaced by conflict. Humanitarian aid to refugees and internally displaced is commonly understood as a temporary activity that ends when people will return home. Yet returnees can often not be provided with protection and ‘return’ for many entails a first encounter with a new place. In a recent policy brief we argue that humanitarian organizations have the responsibility to analyze the long-term security implications of their decisions on where to provide aid.

  • Somali refugees returning. Photo:  The Africa Migration Insider

    Somali refugees returning. Photo: The Africa Migration Insider

    Return of refugees is a common aim of humanitarian policies in (post-) conflict contexts.

  • For a portion of refugees, ‘return’ entails a first encounter with a new place, while many others have lost social networks in places of origin.
  • To guarantee protection, programming for returnees requires mobile forms of assistance that build on social networks.
  • If return programming is considered, humanitarian actors should include a systematic analysis of its long-term security impact.

Read more in a recent Policy Brief from PRIO

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