Academic journal article Refuge

A Critical Anti-Racist Interrogation of Voluntary/forced Repatriation Theory: The Intersections of African Refugees' Dilemma

Academic journal article Refuge

A Critical Anti-Racist Interrogation of Voluntary/forced Repatriation Theory: The Intersections of African Refugees' Dilemma

Article excerpt

Abstract

The author examines the historical/theoretical voluntary repatriation framework, which asserts that refugees should only repatriate to their country of origin on a voluntary basis when the socio-political and ethnic situation that initiated their problem comes to an end. This theory articulates durable protection and resettlement initiatives for refugees in general. Also, the above theory is contrasted with the present re-articulated forced repatriation theories, which state that refugees should repatriate to unsafe conditions in their country of origin. Furthermore, the study interrogates the intersectionality of African refugees' dilemma and the apprehensions of refugees' host countries, and conceptualizes the specific ideology that legitimizes the forced repatriation of refugees, and the impacts of accepting the emerging theory using a critical anti-racist framework.

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This paper begins with the investigation of the historical/ theoretical voluntary repatriation framework, which asserts that refugees should only repatriate to their country of origin on a voluntary basis when the socio-political and ethnic situation that instigated their problem comes to an end. This theory articulates durable protection and resettlement initiatives for refugees in general. Also, the above theory is contrasted with the present re-articulated forced repatriation theories that have compelled many African refugees to repatriate to unsafe conditions in their country of origin. The values underlying the emerging theory have been interrogated in the following paragraphs utilizing critical anti-racist discursive frameworks.

Dei emphasized that an important academic and political goal of anti-racism is to understand current practices, social barriers, and new approaches to collective existences.... A critical anti-racism discursive framework deals foremost with equity: the qualitative value of justice. (1) Therefore, the author uses anti-racism theory to explicate how forced displacement and mass migration of African refugees is developing into a multifarious trend that has led to various intricate forms of terminology/theory within the academy and within different refugee agencies. In 1997, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) observed that the variety of terms in refugee issues alongside the well-known concept of a refugee displacement or mass exodus has shifted theoretically and practically, and has now assumed new pedagogical paradigms among academic analysts and humanitarian agencies. The UNHCR asserted that both refugee agencies and academic analysts commonly utilize the following concepts: asylum flow, mass expulsion, ethnic cleansing, disaster-induced displacement, development-induced displacement, forced migration, internal displacement, population transfer, population exchange, involuntary repatriation, and imposed return. (2) Each of these terms complicates the lives of refugees adversely.

The author argues that African refugees' displacement and migration have perpetually been strongly connected to social and political, colonialist and imperialist, ethno-cultural and religious conflicts that resulted in heinous human rights violations of refugees. Therefore, it is impossible to clearly comprehend the dynamics and magnitude of the present resettlement issues without articulating the historical/ contemporary context of resettlement and voluntary and forced repatriation theories.

It is critically imperative to articulate the theory of voluntary and forced repatriation of refugees, specifically because of the interplay between refugee migration and the apprehensions of refugees' host countries. Categorically, African refugees are confronted with increasing refusal when they endeavour to search for protection in another country. Moreover, the present paradigm shift in resettlement and repatriation theory calls for anti-racist conceptualization of the legislative obstacles formulated by Western countries to deter refugees' admission to safety. …

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