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This paper considers the end of internal displacement in Sri Lanka with particular emphasis on the northern Muslim internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the district of Puttalam. It highlights the dilemmas and challenges faced by the IDPs after a protracted displacement, where the end of a war presents two main options: a return to their origins or integration in the present area of displacement. As analyzed in this paper, these durable solutions need structures and conditions to support them, including effective IDP participation in the decision-making process. The central lesson drawn from the northern Muslim IDP experience is that while there is no single precise durable solution to end displacement, a holistic and integrated approach is needed. The right to return will require the recognition of many factors analyzed in this paper that should be set in place so that return is a sustainable durable solution.

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Refugee Studies Centre

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