Voluntary Repatriation

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 Refugee law primarily serves to provide protection to people under threat of persecution. National and international regulations were implemented, conventions were signed and international mechanisms such as UNHCR were established in line of this goal. The first phase of all these efforts is providing access to fundamental human rights and guarantying humane life standards by ensuring prior and instant protection to these people under threat of persecution.
This initial intervention and protection is significantly and vitally important. However permanent resolutions which should follow this initial protection are indispensable elements to ensure that these people carry on their lives.

Repatriation is a desirable and permanent solution for these people who unwillingly leave their countries. Certain basic standards were set forth by UNHCR related to the voluntary repatriation of refugees following the amelioration of the conditions within the country of origin. These principles set forth by the topics of physical security, legal security, financial security and common consensus determine the basic conditions related to the secure repatriation and replacement of the individuals.

Physical Security includesa) ensuring that there is no violence or humiliation,b) ensuring that necessary steps are taken for the restructuring of security forces, legal authorities and human rights organizations,c) ensuring that there remain no un-exploded landmines or similar ammunition, d) ensuring amendment of general security conditions.

Legal Security includesa) revoking legal and administrative obstacles blocking repatriation, b) execution of amendments related to the repatriation legalizing framework and citizenship, amnesty, property, registration and documentation, c) Establishing preventive mechanisms against human rights violations including independent judiciary.

Financial Security includesa) providing access to basic services such as shelter, water, health and education as means of survival in the primary phases of repatriation, b) preventing discrimination related to access to services (health services, education, etc...), c) developing the capacity of population absorption in locations of repatriation,d) promoting activities which ensure economical sufficiency and which provide income.

Common consensus includesa) promoting equality between displaced people and the public.b) Developing trust and formation of structures and mechanism to support co-existence was defined as the “Principal Factors of Voluntary Repatriation.”[1]

These definitions constitute the basis for voluntary, secure and respected “repatriations.” The decision of repatriation shall be a free and conscientious choice of the individual.

  1. Handbook for Repatriation and Re-integration Activities, UNHCR, May 2004

Source: Orçun Ulusoy; 2009; Sorularla İnsan Hakları; İnsan Hakları Gündemi Derneği; Turkish

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