Although the UNHCR has proposed resettlement, repatriation, or local integration as the three durable solutions to mass refugee movement, negotiated peace agreements usually prioritize return of displaced persons. This preference for repatriation, however, has not been accompanied by systematic study of the processes of remixing and reintegration after peace agreements. Indeed, the international community often views a successful referendum or democratic election and the creation of a new state of affairs or government as the end of a conflict, and begins to disengage after these have occurred. Media, too, immediately shifts its focus to new conflicts elsewhere, ignoring the fragile nature of the new arrangements. In Cyprus, we see that potential return of displaced persons is one of the most fraught aspects of the negotiation process and will need careful planning to ensure that it will contribute to a sustainable peace. In this project we will examine case studies that offer both successful and unsuccessful examples of return in order to glean lessons for Cyprus.
This project continues to develop as one of the leading initiatives of the Centre.
The project's initial product was a highly successful conference in fall 2016, co-organised by Mete Hatay and Rebecca Bryant (Professor of Anthropology, Utrecht University, and PRIO associate). The event was supported by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and brought scholars from around the world to discuss comparative cases of return and remixing. That conference has since resulted in a special section of the Journal of Refugee Studies, co-edited by Rebecca Bryant (one of the conference organisers and a PRIO associate) and Roger Zetter, emeritus professor of refugee studies at Oxford University. The special section is currently under review and will be published in late 2018 or early 2019. It includes a co-authored article by Bryant and Hatay, "Performing Peace: Vernacular Reconciliation and the Diplomacy of Return in Cyprus."