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Title: Beyond Simply ‘Return’: How IDP Mobility, Agency and Self-Identification Contradict the Underpinnings of Refugee Policy
Authors: Elliot Lodge
Keywords: IDPs
Refugee return
Durable solutions
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Chiang Mai University
Citation: ASR: Chiang Mai University.Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities 5,1 (Jan- 2018), p.54-79
Abstract: By framing ‘repatriation’ and ‘return’ as the most common of the three ‘durable solutions’, the global framework for managing people in situations of protracted displacement accounts only for the limited mobility of individuals with refugee status back to the locality they fled. By its very nature, it places unrealistic efforts at achieving sustainable outcomes on broader processes of peace and resettlement, that are assumed to provide appropriate conditions for return, but rarely do so. The Internally Displaced People (IDPs) of Ee Tu Hta in Karen State, Myanmar, are a vivid representation of how this system fails to understand, let alone engage, with common experiences of mobility. After more than a decade of international assistance, the camp has faced a cessation in humanitarian food aid and as a result people are making strategic choices on how to sustain livelihoods for themselves and their families. While there are elements that are specific to this particular example, a glance at similar situations, both in Asia and beyond, suggests that people termed as ‘displaced’ are often in continuous movement - both within and across national boundaries - and, even while staying in a fixed location, their agency, political association and sense of place undermines the assumptions of the structures designed to manage the ‘displaced’. This research explores the experiences of people in Ee Tu Hta vis-à-vis these assumptions. In doing so, the research questions the viability of a system that assumes that displaced people seek to return home in large numbers.
Description: ASR (Asian Social Research) was first launched in 2014 by Chiang Mai University. However, it has a longer history, with its genesis in 2002 as part of Chiang Mai University Journal.This journal was split into two in 2007, with the formation of ASR's predecessor, the Chiang Mai University Journal of social Sciences and Humanities, which was later restyled as ASR in 2014, and began publishing online in 2015.
ISSN: 2465-4329
Appears in Collections:CMUL: Journal Articles

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