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 here.
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 revised its national Refugee Proclamation in January 2019 to include provisions which afford refugees the right to work, freedom of movement, and access to social services. The new law also grants long-staying refugees, those who have lived in Ethiopia for more than two decades, the right to locally integrate into Ethiopian society.
GUINEA-BISSAU: On December 14, 2018, Guinea-Bissau President Jose Mario Vaz signed a decree that attributed citizenship to refugees who have lived in Guinea-Bissau for over twenty-five 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, capped a year of negotiation 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 the 7,000 Senegalese refugees.
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 6,500 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.
PRM’s Refugee Admissions website contains further detail on the U.S. Government’s work to support the third durable solution, resettlement.