Dreaming of this day
“It is giving me joy that I am going back.” UNHCR helped Pelagie return to Central African Republic six years after fleeing violence.
Millions of refugees dream of one day returning home to their own countries, for example when conflicts end or the threat of persecution recedes. In line with the Refugee Convention and international law, any returns must be voluntary and refugees must feel safe doing so.
Voluntary repatriation also requires the full commitment of the country of origin, as well as the support of UNHCR and the international community.
UNHCR promotes and facilitates voluntary repatriation through various means – including organising ‘go-and-see’ visits for refugees, compiling updated information on their country and region of origin, engaging in peace and reconciliation activities, promoting housing and property restitution, and providing return assistance and legal aid to returnees.
With UNHCR support, refugees can return home in safety and dignity – just as they’ve always dreamed of.
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to help ensure that returnees make the right decision
to restore homes to their rightful owners
to help refugees make their long-awaited journeys back home
Happy to be going home
Ever since Ardo Hassan Kowdan fled Ethiopia for Kenya 11 years ago, she’s always dreamed of one day going home. So when offered the opportunity of voluntary repatriation, she jumped at it.
“I’m extremely happy to return to where I was born and gave birth to my three children,” she said. “Life as a refugee was not easy, as I struggled to bring them up and educate them.”
Now Ardo’s hoping to rebuild her life and has received a UNHCR support package, including cash and transport allowances. But best of all is the chance to see her mother again.
“I think I’ll die of happiness,” she said.
Photo: ©UNHCR/Helle Degn