Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

This paper examines how the concept of return in ‘safety and dignity’ emerged and has been applied to processes of refugee return. In doing so, it highlights incongruities about the meaning of return in practice, particularly in terms of dignity. Moreover, it identifies key components of the notion of dignity that should figure centrally in internationally-supported repatriation processes, namely, the principle of refugee choice and the need to redress the injustices that cause and characterise displacement. This paper suggests that pinning down a narrow institutional definition of dignity would not necessarily serve the interests of returnees. However, it argues that the concept of dignified return merits greater debate amongst policy makers, scholars, refugee advocates and displaced communities to make it a sharper protection tool.

More information


Working paper


Refugee Studies Centre

Publication Date




Total pages