The current refugee crisis has created an influx of refugees, primarily in the developing world, which has caused an issue of burden-sharing amongst the global North and South. Some states are hindered in their capacity to offer assistance and protection while other states avoid participating in the refugee realm all together. Repatriation remains the only solution for the majority of refugees and can occur after residing for short or long periods of time in the host country. Voluntary repatriation is a key element to the foundation of international refugee law. The conceptâ s basis lies in the notion of â voluntarinessâ resulting in its promotion as the ideal solution to solve refugee problems. The current criteria for the promotion of repatriation programs, as outlined by UNHCR and monitored by states, are based solely on their objective perspectives. The failure to include the subjective perspective of the refugee undermines voluntary repatriation not only of its voluntary nature but also as a durable solution. The decision to voluntarily repatriate should be based on the refugeesâ own criteria, not those which are dictated by states and other stakeholders. The absence of the refugee perspective has led to the present day situation in which states interpret refugee law for themselves, using acts of coercion, persuasion, encouragement and other methods to force refugees home under the auspices of voluntary repatriation. The designation of such objectivity as the primary decision-making factor in refugee protection has led to the erosion of the entire international refugee law regime.


Law Department

Degree Name

MA in International Human Rights Law

Graduation Date


Submission Date

September 2012

First Advisor

Lorite, Alejandro

Second Advisor

Korhonen, Outi



Document Type

Master's Thesis

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

Refugees -- Liberia.

Library of Congress Subject Heading 2

Refugees -- Legal status, laws, etc.


The author retains all rights with regard to copyright. The author certifies that written permission from the owner(s) of third-party copyrighted matter included in the thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study has been obtained. The author further certifies that IRB approval has been obtained for this thesis, or that IRB approval is not necessary for this thesis. Insofar as this thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study is an educational record as defined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 USC 1232g), the author has granted consent to disclosure of it to anyone who requests a copy.

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item