Frivillig repatriering - en beskrivelse og kritik af et ideal

  • Peter Hansen


Voluntary repatriation. Description and critique of an ideal Voluntary repatriation is often considered a natural, ideal and nonproblematic solution to the refugee problem. This idealization is based mainly on an implicit understanding of refugees and identity, not on positive experiences from earlier repatriation projects. In lo¬calizing the logic behind the idealiza¬tion of voluntary repatriation, it is ne¬cessary to explicate a perception of the world with a sedentarist metaphysics at its core. This perception divides the world into nation states inhabited by es¬sentialized cultural communities and sees acquisition of identity as coming from these cultural roots. A refugee is a challenge to a sedentarist metaphysics merely because the refugee is not seden¬tary. The refugee has lost his/her identi¬ty and membership of a natural given community, his/her home. To repatriate is to reestablish the national order of things. Empirical studies problematize the idealization and naturalness of volunta¬ry repatriation. Living miles away from one’s home land is not necessarily the same thing as having lost one’s identity. The decision to repatriate is not always the natural choice, and repatriation and reintegration into one’s home land is ra¬rely a nonproblematic return to things as they were before exile. The idealiza¬tion of voluntary repatriation is based on a problematic conception of refugee identity. In contrast to a sedentarist me¬taphysics, this article suggests that iden¬tities are not static and solely given by the location of a person’s roots, but are always in the process of being construc¬ted. Therefore voluntary repatriation can never reestablish things as they we¬re before, since both the refugees and those who stay behind have changed. A viable solution to the refugee problem must take into consideration the context of repatriation which includes different actors with potentially conflicting inter¬pretations and experiences and should not resort entirely to the implicit logic of the natural order of things.