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Manual for Sustainable Return

Part II - Operational Guidelines - Individual Returns

The term individual returns (also referred to as "spontaneous" returns) is used here to refer to the many different types of returns other than the facilitated movement of a group of displaced persons to a particular location. In some cases, families give no advance warning of returning to their original home. In other cases, individual families receive differing types of assistance to return. Individual returns of all types are to be supported as they demonstrate a high level of confidence, independence and commitment on behalf of the returnee. They should be encouraged as they represent a greater likelihood of the returnee successfully integrating back into the receiving community. Like families returning through organised returns projects, families returning individually generally require assistance upon return. Yet providing assistance is often more challenging due to the unpredictable nature of their arrival and geographic spread of the locations to which they return. For example, infrastructure projects can generally only be undertaken on a community basis, not in response to a single family's return.

In order to respond to demands for assistance to this type of returnee, UNMIK is working with UNDP and UNHCR to establish a flexible facility that would provide funding to assist individual returns. The specific requirements and structure of that fund are yet to be determined, and the extent of donor support and the requirements donors might impose on this mechanism will need to be taken into account. Depending on the resolution of those issues, UNMIK's intention is for the flexible fund to be available for use by MWG's in responding to individual returns. The specific process for such support will need to be developed as the structure of the flexible fund is determined. One possible approach, however, would be for MWG participants to notify the MWG of the individual return of a minority family. The MWG could then request a predetermined NGO to assess the returnee family in light of the return assistance beneficiary criteria.

If the returnee family is eligible for assistance, the MWG would then request the implementing partner managing the flexible fund to provide assistance in accordance with the fund's procedures. Support for individual returns could include housing reconstruction, income-generation/ economic support assistance and, if the return occurs in a context where such options are available, incorporation of the family into an ongoing return project that involves infrastructure and community programmes.


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