Through its diplomacy and programming, PRM seeks to find refugees and IDPs longer-term, durable solutions to their displacement once their immediate needs have been met. There are three durable solutions:
- Voluntary returns in safety and dignity;
- Local integration; and
- Resettlement to another location or country.
In many of these cases, these solutions result from collaboration between the countries of origin, host countries, and the international humanitarian community.
Here are examples of what PRM is doing to achieve durable solutions:
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA, CROATIA, MONTENEGRO, and SERBIA: Through the Regional Housing Program (RHP), PRM works alongside UNHCR, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the European Union, and other donors to support the joint efforts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, and Serbia to provide sustainable housing solutions to refugees and displaced persons in the Western Balkans. The RHP has become an example of successful regional and international cooperation to improve individual lives, foster lasting, productive, regional connections, and strengthen administrative and institutional capacity to assist with large-scale displacement. By the end of 2018, 3,929 housing units had been provided to eligible beneficiaries under the RHP, and an additional 2,400 were under construction. PRM’s support to the Catholic Relief Services complements these efforts by building local capacity to administer social housing, free legal aid, and needs-based assistance. More on the RHP’s 2018 successes can be seen on the RHP 2018 achievements video.
ETHIOPIA: Although many refugees prefer to voluntarily return to their home country when conditions allow, others have chosen to locally integrate. In Ethiopia, the Government continues to move forward on progressive integration efforts that reflect a move away from a traditional camp-based approach to assistance. Following sustained advocacy by UNHCR, PRM, and other stakeholders, Ethiopia passed a revised Refugee Proclamation in February 2019 that included provisions which afford refugees the right to work, freedom of movement, and access to social services. Ethiopia released three directives in June 2020 to further facilitate implementation of the revised Proclamation.
GUINEA-BISSAU: On December 14, 2018, Guinea-Bissau President Jose Mario Vaz signed the Decree on the Definitive Integration of Long-Term Refugees that attributed citizenship to refugees who have lived in Guinea-Bissau for over 25 years and have assimilated both culturally and linguistically. This decree, adopted in conformity with international agreements on migration and asylum that promote inclusive solutions for undocumented foreign citizens and aimed at eliminating statelessness, capped over a year of negotiations between the government and UNHCR on the process and cost of naturalization. Through the negotiations, UNHCR managed to lower the government’s initial price per file, significantly reducing the overall cost of a durable solution for 7,000 mainly Senegalese refugees. UNHCR has started to register refugees and distribute the forms they need to fill out to acquire national identity cards and naturalization certificates. PRM has engaged diplomatically – including with the highest levels of government – throughout the process and has continued to monitor progress of naturalized refugees, raising concerns with UNHCR’s region office in Dakar as they arise .
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. More than 90,000 Bhutanese refugees were resettled to the United States and more than 15,500 to other countries between 2006 and 2018. With the conclusion of large-scale resettlement, local integration is expected to be the principal durable solution for the approximately 6,500 remaining Bhutanese refugees in Nepal. The U.S. government supports UNHCR’s efforts to encourage the Government of Nepal to enable the remaining refugees to legally work and access education, health, and protection services while continuing to press the Bhutanese government to do its part to contribute to the resolution of this protracted situation by accepting the return of eligible refugees who wish to repatriate. PRM funds UNHCR to provide assistance to the Bhutanese refugees in Nepal. This support is instrumental in enabling the full integration of Bhutanese refugees into local education and healthcare systems ahead of UNHCR’s planned cessation of support to Bhutanese refugees in 2021.
PRM’s Refugee Admissions website contains further detail on the U.S. Government’s work to support the third durable solution, resettlement.