Durable solutions
Supporting voluntary repatriation, integration in countries of asylum or resettlement in third countries

JRS advocates for durable solutions for all refugees, especially those who are in protracted situations. We promote voluntary repatriation, and oppose attempts to repatriate refugees prematurely or involuntarily. The resettlement of the Bhutanese refugees and the future of the Sri Lankan refugees in Tamil Nadu are examples of current situations of concern. In both areas, JRS international advocacy staff remain deeply engaged in monitoring progress towards achieving durable solutions.

We are in dialogue with UNHCR and governments to ensure that refugee rights and aspirations are respected, and that their protection is not compromised.

The protracted situation of the Bhutanese refugees in Nepal – a group that was neither permitted to return to Bhutan nor to integrate in Nepalese society – and consequent donor fatigue, forced the refugees to seek a durable solution. A resettlement process in third countries – the USA, Australia and Canada among others – started in 2007, jointly organised by UNHCR and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

JRS Europe and JRS USA urged governments to provide resettlement opportunities for the Bhutanese refugees. As a result of such advocacy, by the end of 2014, 93,000 of the 107,810 refugees will have been resettled in third countries.

JRS will continue to work with the remaining 15,000 exploring options for voluntary repatriation and integration into Nepalese society. Through the advocacy of JRS USA, the US government was also persuaded to provide funding for all Bhutanese refugee children to complete the last two years of their secondary education, an opportunity previously open to only a few.

In the early 90s, JRS helped Cambodian refugees to repatriate and reintegrate into society as they returned from camps in Thailand. Physical assistance was provided – providing shelter and material items – as well as support to foster strong relationships in the villages, so that people could work together and rebuild trust.