Ethnic minorities and sustainable refugee return and reintegration in Kosovo

Alpaslan Ozerdem, Laura Payne

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)
    94 Downloads (Pure)


    Unprecedented levels of displacement make the return of refugees and internally displaced populations a critical challenge, with post-conflict minority return especially complex. This article investigates the return process in Kosovo to identify what supports and hinders sustainability. For nearly two decades the Government of Kosovo and international partners have supported the return of minorities displaced during the 1998–1999 conflict and March 2004 riots. We draw on interviews with all major stakeholder groups in return programming and on indicative survey data from 499 returnees. Using a framework adapted from Black, Koser and Munk (‘Understanding Voluntary Return’), we focus on the Kosovo return process in recent years. The survey results indicate some sustainability but high differentiation in returnees’ satisfaction. This warrants concern, as differences in returnee perspectives run along already conflictual ethnic and spatial fault lines. In post-conflict settings, sustainable return and reintegration require more than the provision of services–they require nuanced understanding of how the shadow of conflict shapes returnee experiences. Finally, we question the orthodoxy of return discourse and highlight critical factors to support sustainable return elsewhere.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)403-425
    Number of pages23
    JournalConflict, Security and Development
    Issue number4
    Early online date23 Jul 2019
    Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Bibliographical note

    This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Conflict, Security and Development on 23/07/2019, available online:

    Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.


    • Kosovo
    • Refugee return
    • durable solution
    • minority return
    • sustainable return

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Political Science and International Relations


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