When are you going home? Voluntary repatriation of Liberian refugees in Ghana
The study examines voluntary repatriation in the context of Liberian refugees living in Ghana. The aim of the study is to throw more light on why some Liberian refugees living in Ghana are unwilling to participate in the voluntary repatriation exercise to Liberia. The study hopes to provide better understanding of why the top – down approach to voluntary repatriation that is employed by UNHCR does not work for some refugees. Also what motivates refugees into making a stance not to participating in the voluntary repatriation exercise. In order to achieve this end, the study interviews 15 refugees living in the Buduburam refugee camp. Concepts and theories such as agency, identity and critical consciousness, social network theory and resource mobilization are used to give a framework to voluntary repatriation. The field returns of the study indicate that refugees are not passive. They apply their agency, critical consciousness and their identity to make decisions that will be in their best interest. The returns indicate that majority of those not returning think Liberia is not peaceful enough for them. Also there are worries about economic hardships, inadequate security. There are parents who want to fulfill their role as parents by providing good education for their children and they think they are better off doing so in Ghana than in Liberia. Although most respondent agreed living in Ghana is not easy for reasons of being discriminated against, lack of assistance from UNHCR, being seen as threat. I The study calls the present UNHCR organized voluntary repatriation program into question. Refugees seems not to be buying into the top – down approach used by UNHCR in drawing repatriation program with little input from refugees. Whereas, UNHCR sees the existence of peace in the country of origin as proviso for repatriation. Refugees sees existence of peace as not enough attraction, but rather yearns for a return where they would not be a burden on others, since they have amassed enough resources for their return.
PublisherUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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