What Role have Joint Commissions Played in Facilitating Refugee Returns as Part of Peace Processes?
Joint commissions have often been central to facilitating refugee returns, although they are not always integrated into peace processes. This report reviews the literature on the role played by joint commissions in facilitating refugee returns as part of peace processes. “Joint commissions” are understood here as any institutional arrangement between the state of origin and at least one neighbouring state, usually with the involvement of one or more third party (e.g. UNHCR, a third country). The literature provides some key recommendations on what makes successful refugee return processes through joint commissions: national government ownership, as opposed to UN-led or humanitarian-driven agencies; a long-term view, including development thinking rather than humanitarian thinking and integration of refugee return issues into peace agreements, rather than standalone arrangements. There is very little evidence or literature on the specific nexus between peace agreements, refugee returns, and the management of such processes through joint commissions. Some of the literature on refugee returns take gender into account, usually considering the different needs of men and women returnees, but not on the gender composition of joint committees.