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Returning Refugees and What This Means for Humanitarian Assistance

Refugees leave their homes due to fear of violence and persecution. As such, when threats subside, they often want to return to their homes. However, this can be a complicated process for refugees and their national governments. So, humanitarian organizations often play an essential role in aiding returning refugees.

Refugees Returning Home

In 2019, the world is hopeful that several countries will see a more peaceful domestic situation. Things are looking up for Syria, with actual conflict reduced to a few specific zones in the country. Meanwhile, Venezuela might be looking at political reform. And Myanmar has been taking steps towards repatriating the Rohingya refugees.

At the same time, there is political pressure on governments hosting refugees to give incentives for refugees to return to their homes. For example, Germany is providing airfare grants for Syrian refugees wishing to go home. Meanwhile, Bangladesh is working to ensure passage for the Rohingya back to Myanmar.

In the coming years, we could see a massive influx of returning refugees that have lived in refugee camps. Many of them will want to return voluntarily. However, some will be forced to return due to the pressures of the political systems in their host countries.

Challenges Returning Refugees Face

When refugees do return, there are some issues that they may face. Their home countries will have gone through severe conflicts or natural disasters. As a result, much of the infrastructure may be in shambles and will require reconstruction.

Also, returning refugees are likely to face property rights issues. Many will find their homes destroyed. Some others will find their homes occupied by new families. Some will find nothing in the place of their old properties. It often takes refugees years to reclaim their rights to property and land. But sometimes they also must start their lives anew from scratch.

Another challenge that returning refugees face is a political transition and continued insecurity. It is likely that in Venezuela it will take time to establish political stability. Meanwhile, news reports show that Syria can be dangerous for returning refugees, who are facing political regime backlash for having left.

Finally, returning refugees may have to deal with discrimination and even community violence. Often the community dynamic changes with conflict, particularly if politics are involved. So, having fled may be seen as negative by some of their past or new neighbors.

Where do refugees come from

Humanitarian Assistance

One of the key actors in assisting returning refugees is The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The organization works with refugees all over the work and supports their safe repatriation.

The UNHCR often acts as the mediator between national and international governments, as well as other public organizations in the refugee’s home country. It promotes existing agreements and resolutions, particularly on the human rights of refugees.

In addition to the UNHCR, other humanitarian organizations work to support returning refugees and their communities. One of the critical aspects of repatriation is ensuring livelihoods for those who have come back. Many humanitarians work to support livelihood development for returning refugees.

Reconstruction is another important area that requires humanitarian aid. Returning refugees often lack the resources to reconstruct their homes. Plus, governments may not have the funds to rebuild proper public infrastructure and facilities right away. Humanitarians provide temporary housing, education, and medical care, among other services.

Another role that humanitarians take on is peace promotion and disarmament. In post-conflict environments, it often takes much longer than the official ceasefire date to establish peace. That’s why peace promotion is a crucial humanitarian action. Plus, humanitarians help to de-mine fields and transition armed groups.

organizations that help refugees

Everything You Need to Know about Refugees

Humanitarians continuously work hard to help and protect refugees. Refugees are always supported by compassionate people, even if their primary mission is different. There are many more humanitarian aspects of refugees. Here you can take a closer look at everything you need to know about refugees and the help they receive.

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