Title

Reconstructing the future: Sustainable Minority Return in Kosovo

Publication Date

2005

Abstract

The phenomenon of forced migration in response to the violent ethnic conflicts in the 1990’s has given the international community the precarious task of facilitating the return of millions of refugees and IDPs who have voluntarily chosen to return “home.” In the wake of violence, the reintegration of forced migrants into their former villages of mono or multi ethnic makeup has the potential to agitate a relatively calm post conflict period rendering it intractable or conversely, foster conditions aimed at transforming relationships that will engender a sustainable return and lead communities towards reconciliation. Consequently, the presence of IDPs, ex-combatants, and refugees are a threatening daily reminder of the enemy, a past that the present has not reconciled and the communities receiving returnees remain unwilling to share scarce resources to reconstruct an unpredictable future together. With a logical emphasis on the immediate physical needs that comprise physical reconstruction such as security, house construction and preparation of a multi-ethnic market economy, social reconstruction which encompasses the long term psychosocial needs, is often overlooked leaving returning and receiving communities vulnerable once a conflict has lost its appeal to donor countries and funding begins to dwindle. It is at this fragile moment when communities begin to reweave the social fabric that at one time held them together. This paper seeks to explore the role of UNMIK, UNHCR, NGOs and other stakeholders that include national and local leaders, involved in the minority return process in the western region of Kosovo, the methods used to promote sustainable return, the needs of the returning and receiving communities and the efficacy of conflict transformation tools such as inter-communal dialogue to create sustainable conditions for co-existence.

Disciplines

Community Psychology | Human Geography | International and Intercultural Communication

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