Issues around restitution of housing and property to refugees and the internally displaced wishing to return to their original homes have attracted increasing attention in recent years.
The Dayton Peace Agreement, signed in November 1995, explicitly put property issues at the heart of the return process and the overall peace framework for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In 1997, the US State Department’s Bureau for Population and Refugee Migration funded two pilot projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina, each providing for the rehabilitation of 40 homes (20 for Serbs and 20 for Muslims) and the return of pre-war owners and families to the town of Sipovo in the Republika Srpska (RS) entity of Bosnia.
Armed conflict in Kosovo in 1998-1999 led to the destruction of tens of thousands of homes and the mass occupation of abandoned homes as refugees were repatriated.
The Bhutanese government disputes the citizenship of the 96,000 Bhutanese refugees currently in Nepalese refugee camps. A new project – the Documentation of Bhutanese Refugees – sets out to disprove their argument.
For many women, rights to land, property and housing are essential to their livelihood and survival, and this is particularly so in the aftermath of war and conflict.
Forced relocation or ‘regroupement’ is the forced movement of entire communities, usually by a government, to permanent or semi-permanent sites often directly or indirectly under the control of military units. This is ostensibly to protect the population from political insurgency; in reality, it is more often a means of depopulating whole areas as part of counter-insurgency tactics employed by a government.
Internal and regional conflicts have led to massive and repeated waves of displacement in Lebanon.
Over the last three decades, refugee crises have resulted in the dispersal of substantial numbers of people from the world’s trouble spots. While much interest has focused on the effects of their presence in the countries that host them, these ‘new diasporas’ can also influence profoundly what happens at home.