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Engaging on Returns: an NRC workshop to elaborate the organization’s approaches to return programming and policy


Our writer and researcher Elizabeth Rushing and our senior monitoring coordinator, conflict and violence, Adrián Calvo Valderrama, will be in Dubai for a workshop on returns organized by the Norwegian Refugee Council. Current access to solutions for the forcibly displaced is extremely limited, and among the solution options, return – whether for refugees, or internally displaced people – is both the most lauded and the most controversial of the three traditional possibilities. Return is often cited as the “preferred option” and an essential aspect of a “well-managed migration policy,” by States. Furthermore, it is commonly suggested that it is the preferred choice of displaced people themselves. Running contrary to the ‘preferred option’ narrative is the reality that political and economic pressures often inform the debates on return as much as, if not more than humanitarian realities or objective interests in the well-being of refugees and IDPs. The preconditions of physical, legal and material safety and security for returnees are frequently far from being established in return areas. Even where those preconditions are met, the process of restructuring and rebuilding services and infrastructure to ensure returns are sustainable can take years at an extremely high cost – going well beyond the timeframe and available financing that is typically attached to return programs.

The primary objectives of the workshop are to:

  • provide space to exchange experiences across the various country offices working on return as one of the durable solutions to displacement.
  • solidify key organization-wide positions on specific return-related programming and policy issues
  • develop the core elements for an organizational engagement strategy on return