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 for those involved in peacebuilding and those working on return and readmission policies. The perspectives of the displaced themselves, in particular of so-called minority groups, are, however, hardly considered. Taking into account the perceptions and aspirations of displaced and returned persons must be key for finding solutions for their displacement and for building inclusive communities.

The research project RE-MIG investigates the topic of return and reintegration after conflict-induced displacement, with a focus on (the meanings and implications of) social and ethnic boundaries which are drawn and re-drawn during violent conflict, political transitions and migration. BICC will empirically study what role and meaning displaced persons and returnees, who are ‘framed’ as minority by others or identify themselves as being part of a minority, attach to the notions of return and reintegration.

The following 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, internally displaced as well as returned members of minority groups' own imaginations of and ideas for long-term solutions to their own displacement?

Being fully aware of vastly different and contested meanings of the term “minority”, the study seeks to better understand how “minority return” as a notion and as a policy aim has been put into practice in various contexts and how this is then seen and experienced by the displaced populations. Our aim is 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 destinations. 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.

We will inform political decision-makers, researchers and other audiences about the findings of our study through policy papers, academic publications and blog contributions. Several capacity exchange workshops and policy events will be organised in our regions of study as well as research-policy-practice transfer events in Germany. In addition, we regularly organise lectures and presentations in our brownbag lunch series.

Funded by


Duration of project

February 2023 - June 2025