Durable Solutions at Work
There are three durable solutions that can resolve the problem of forced displacement that results in refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs): voluntary repatriation in safety and dignity; local integration; and resettlement to a third country. Each one is a result of a collaborative effort among the countries of origin, host countries, as well as, international humanitarian and donor organizations.
Here are examples of what PRM is doing to achieve durable solutions:
BOSNIA and HERZEGOVINA, CROATIA, MONTENEGRO and SERBIA: The Regional Housing Program (RHP) is a joint initiative of the four Partner Countries and the international donor community. The aim of the RHP is to provide durable housing solutions to refugees and IDPs who were displaced during the Balkan wars and continue to live in dire conditions. The RHP comprises four country housing projects in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia. It has become an example of collaboration among the four countries, the Council of European Development Bank, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and several donors, which in addition to the United States include the European Commission, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Switzerland, and Turkey. Construction is ongoing in all four Partner Countries for several projects. By 2018, the RHP is expected to provide 7,200 households, covering 22,000 people with shelter solutions. PRM has provided $20 million for the RHP since FY 2012. In FY 2016, PRM funded more than $1.1 million for programs providing free legal assistance and income-generation grants in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia.
COLOMBIA: Through its support to UNHCR, PRM has supported the Transitional Solutions Initiative (TSI) for Colombian IDPs. This project supports communities and local authorities in providing effective solutions for IDPs and was developed in consultation with national authorities, UNHCR, UNDP, and the government of Colombia. TSI also coordinates with national authorities and promotes a comprehensive policy for solutions based on lessons learned in areas of return, relocation, and local integration. Three main areas of intervention are: (1) improving quality of life (land, housing, access to basic services, and local economic development); (2) organizational and institutional strengthening (community strengthening, and local governance); and (3) protection and rights of the victims (physical security, integrity, liberty and dignity, truth, justice, and reparation rights).
LIBERIA: Liberia’s multi-phased 14-year civil war, which lasted from 1989 to 2003, produced several waves of refugees who at one point numbered more than 700,000. They sought asylum in several coastal West African states from The Gambia to Nigeria. In the years since, Liberians have exhibited a declining need for international assistance, and the vast majority has returned home. With peace in Liberia, UNHCR invoked the cessation of refugee status clause in June 2012. After a successful effort to assist nearly 30,000 Liberians with voluntary repatriation and reintegration by the end of 2012, UNHCR assisted in finalizing the local integration of the remaining 30,000 Liberian refugees in countries of asylum. By ensuring proper issuance of documentation and regularization of their immigration status, UNHCR advanced a durable solution to this protracted refugee situation.
NEPAL: Bhutanese government policies in the late 1980s and early 1990s caused tens of thousands of ethnic Nepalese to leave Bhutan, sometimes forcibly. As a result, more than 100,000 refugees from Bhutan were living in camps in southeastern Nepal until 2006, when the U.S. and other governments agreed to begin a large-scale resettlement program. Since then, over 90,000 Bhutanese refugees have been resettled to the United States and more than 15,500 to other countries. While resettlement is expected to be the principal durable solution for all but approximately 8,000 -10,000 of Bhutanese refugees, the U.S. government continues to press the Bhutanese government to do its part to contribute to resolution of this protracted situation by accepting the return of eligible refugees who wish to repatriate. Similarly, the USG encourages the Government of Nepal to enable the remaining refugees to legally work, access education, health, and protection services. PRM funds UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to provide assistance to the Bhutanese refugees in Nepal.
ZAMBIA: In October 2015, the Zambian government announced an expansion of local integration eligibility for Angolans and extended their original pledge to integrate 10,000 to 18,750 former Angolan refugees and approximately 4,000 Rwandans. In FY 2016, PRM provided $1 million through UNHCR to support Zambia’s local integration initiative.