Attitudes and Practices in Minority Returns after Conflict-induced Displacement (RE-MIG)

The return of displaced people plays an important role in the political agendas of international actors, including their peacebuilding activities. But even if people wished to return, those affected by violent conflicts and systematic displacement face manifold challenges when returning/when wanting to return to their region of origin and multiple obstacles to their reintegration. Ethno-religious minorities and other marginalised groups face particularly high hurdles in their return and reintegration.

The new research project RE-MIG investigates the topic of return and reintegration after conflict-induced displacement, specifically focusing on ethno-religious or -linguistic minorities and the distinct set of challenges these might face in exile and upon return. BICC will empirically study what role and meaning members of minority groups attach to return and reintegration, how displaced members of minority groups conceive their future, what conditions they consider necessary for and conducive to return and what (alternative) solutions they envisage for their own living situations apart from return and reintegration.

The following preliminary research questions will guide the study:

\ What are specific perceptions of displaced minority groups and returnees regarding the conditions and options at the place of origin for potential return (or lack thereof)?

\ How do exiles' and returnees' attitudes and perceptions on return and reintegration shape their livelihood strategies, networks and mobility patterns, including their engagement with origin countries and countries of exile?

\ What are exiled and internally displaced as well as returned members of minority groups' own imaginations of and ideas for long-term solutions to their own displacement?

The study aims to enhance the understanding of the specific features of minority returns in varied contexts to inform policymaking in (forced) migration, return and reintegration and development through context-specific analysis and recommendations and to feed into the academic debate.

Using a qualitative and multi-sited research design, the study is based on extensive field research in three world regions (Eastern Europe, the Middle East, South Asia) including origin/return contexts and exile contexts in neighbouring countries and other relevant destination countries. In addition, the project foresees intensive cooperation and capacity exchange with local researchers as well as several consultation and dissemination formats including workshops in the regions under study, policy transfer activities and publications. The project builds upon key findings of the closed project “Trajectories of reintegration. The impacts of displacement, migration and return on social change”. It is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and will last from February 2023 to June 2025.

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Duration of project