Challenges of reintegrating returning refugees : a case study of returnee access to land and to basic services in Burundi
AuthorManiraguha, Jean Pierre
In post-war societies, the challenges associated with reintegration of returnees may contribute to the re-ignition of violence and armed conflict. But, despite recognition of this fact, the factors which make refugee return and reintegration sustainable are generally underresearched. This thesis deals with the reintegration of Burundian returnees in the aftermath of ethnic-based violence and civil war during the years 1993-2000. The study identifies the nature of the main challenges for returnee reintegration in Burundi, exploring how addressing or failing to address these challenges may affect the possibilities for conflict transformation and durable peace. It is based on qualitative research employing multiple methods and sources, including field work in Burundi. The study’s theoretical framework is informed by various approaches, including theories on state building and concepts such as “failed state” and "sustainable livelihood". This model helps to explain not only the underlying and multifaceted causes of the conflict, but also the dynamics of forced displacement in Burundi. The thesis findings indicate that refugees experience and livelihoods are key factors affecting their access to basic services and land for cultivation and establishing homesteads upon return. The thesis suggests that addressing land issues for landless returnees and improving the social infrastructure should be a priority in conflict transformation efforts aiming for a durable peace in Burundi. Without returnees' (and others') access to land and other key livelihood opportunities, the reintegration of returning refugees might fail to the extent that it may jeopardise the Burundian hard-won stability.
PublisherUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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