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  • Return (right of)
  • One of the elements of the right to reparation for victims of gross violations of human rights, in general, and refugees, displaced persons and persons subject to forced eviction, in particular. The right to reparation, as codified in international law and incumbent upon all States to respect protect and fulfill, entitling refugees and displaced persons to go back to their place (country) of origin of their own volition, regardless of the present sovereign or any other conditions.


    The right of return is independent of the acquisition of citizenship or any other legal status. It is a fundamental right enshrined in both human rights law (1, 2, 3)[AR1, AR2, AR3] and international humanitarian law (1, 2, 3) [AR1, AR2, AR3]. At any time, even if locally integrated or resettled in a country other than their country of origin, refugees may decide to return to their homes spontaneously, or as part of a repatriation program.


    Features of the right to return include: (1) refugees are free and have the right to return to their country of origin at any time; (2) refugee’s decision to return should be voluntary; (3) refugees must be provided with objective [true, reliable] and up-to-date information on the situation in their of origin, in order to make an informed decision about repatriation; and (4) the level of assistance and protection provided in the country of refuge should not be the determining factor for refugees to decide whether or not to return.


    Thus, return is closely linked to the other forms of redress that constitute the legally defined elements of reparation: Restitution, Return, Resettlement, Rehabilitation, Compensation, Guarantees of nonrepetition and Satisfaction. No one of the seven elements of reparation can substitute for another form.

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