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close this bookResettlement of Displaced Population - 1st Edition (DHA/UNDRO - DMTP - UNDP, 1995, 60 p.)
close this folderPart 4: Options of place
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentReturn to residence or area from which displacement occurred
View the documentSpontaneous repatriation
View the documentOrganized repatriation
View the documentIntegration into the host community
View the documentRelocation
View the documentCASE STUDY: Planned Secondary Resettlement (PSR)
View the documentCASE STUDY: Land tenure issues in resettlement: Repatriation to Tigray region of Ethiopia

Integration into the host community

The longer that displaced families are away from their original place of residence the less likely they are to return.

Some displaced people are unable or unwilling to return to their former place of residence for security reasons or due to loss of land and other resources. If refuge is sought in another location, many consider the move permanent, particularly families without land holdings, such as laborers, renters, or migrant workers. Some people cannot face returning to their homes due to traumas experienced in the displacement generating circumstances.

In general, the longer that displaced families are away from their original place of residence the less likely they are to return particularly if they have re-established themselves. Many displaced adults strive to integrate into the local community where they have re-established themselves, and children quickly adapt to a new home. Families may resist further disruption after establishing new living arrangements.

The decision of whether or not to return to place of origin may also depend upon the extent or perception of the value of what was lost or left behind. Return to original places of residence may be particularly unlikely for the poorest people and those who perceive their new environment to be richer in basic services and goods. This is typical for persons moving from rural to urban centers. Displaced persons often live on the fringes of urban areas and are indistinguishable from the local people. They may have taken refuge in homes of others or found or constructed shelters in "slum" or marginal communities or perhaps settled as "squatters" on unused land. Despite their resource-rich environment, they may be without services and employment.

In Peru, as in many countries, tens of thousands of people have fled conflict areas and have taken up residency on the periphery of urban centers. Humanitarian assistance to displaced families and other families in dire need is often required. The sudden influx of large numbers of people often overtaxes local systems. Settlements expanding without water and sanitation pose serious health risks. Most importantly, large numbers of people are often in need of some way to secure employment, food and basic essentials. Where needs cannot be met through gainful employment, people may be forced into prostitution or other degrading means of surviving. Sometimes it is possible to target assistance exclusively to displaced families in such conditions. More commonly, it is necessary to adopt area-based strategies to reach all in need irrespective of whether or not they are displaced.