House

This report summarises some of the papers presented at the international conference ‘House: refuge, loss and belonging’ convened by the Research Group on Forced Migration at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in September 2004.Most forced migration researchers encounter refugees and IDPs who express their experience of acute loss. By exploring forced migration through the issue of house, the conference highlighted the fact that loss can be conceptualised in several ways. Loss of house for forced migrants represents not only actual material loss but also loss of status and standing and economic deprivation. Furthermore, loss of house is deeply connected with issues of home and identity, human security and protection. The conference explored these different aspects of housing for forced migrants through case studies from Palestine, the Caucasus, Indonesia, India, Eritrea, Rwanda and the Balkans.

Contents
Hans Skotte

Homes are in houses (of various shapes and forms). This was pointedly illustrated by a displaced Serbian professor as he showed a TV reporter his most cherished belongings, a row of worn books: “I have a home”, he lamented, “but no house to put it in!”

Chantal Laurent

Settlement Rehabilitation Programmes (SRPs) are found in a wide variety of field settings but the same basic criteria and methodology of approach are necessary to ensure their effectiveness and sustainability.

Ana Povrženic

Housing reconstruction is not just a question of building houses. It is about return and restoring the right to return to all those who lose this right during conflict.

Rosemary Sayigh

As Israel refuses to accept responsibility for their exodus from their Palestinian homeland – and Lebanon refuses to allow them to resettle – displaced Palestinians have to deal with the knowledge that their homes in Lebanon are not really homes, while their real homes are not about to be restored to them.

Gaim Kibreab

Despite deep ties to their houses and land, Eritrean refugees repatriating from Sudan have defied most observers’ expectations by deciding not to settle in their villages of origin.

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