Refugees and Internally Displaced: A Challenge to Nation-Building

The purpose of this Article is to explore the interdependent relationship between post-conflict nationbuilding on the one hand, and refugee repatriation and intrastate reintegration of IDPs on the other. In Part II, the governing legal framework will be outlined with an emphasis on the consequences to refugees and IDPs of nation-building efforts. Part III will demonstrate that repatriation and reintegration are critical to the success of any nation-building enterprise. As will be described in more detail, although the motivations of post-conflict countries of origin and neighboring host states may differ with respect to repatriation and reintegration, the common goal of regional stability serves to align these stakeholders’ otherwise divergent interests. Finally, Part IVwill conclude that nation-building actors must take seriously their responsibility to implement the policies of repatriation and reintegration by (1) understanding and abiding well-established international law norms; (2) establishing the rule of law and stabilizing governmental structures; (3) providing for the return of property and legal status to repatriated refugees; and (4) planning for reintegration and repatriation on the local level to leverage existing family and social networks.

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