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Compulsory displacement


Compulsory displacement occurs when people have to leave their usual place of residence (home) due to a decision made by an external actor or as a result of an uncontrollable event, and have no option of staying where they are. It is called compulsory because people do not make the decision to move, the decision is forced on them. The events that cause involuntary displacement include: infrastructure projects, exploitation of natural resources (mining, hydrocarbons, l), urban interventions, environmental recovery or environmental protection projects, socio-natural disasters, and war and violence. It is also called forced displacement when coercion is involved.

Compulsory displacement causes severe social, economic and psychological impacts, which might even affect several generations. People may lose their homes, land, sources of livelihoods and the socioeconomic networks that sustain their lives, all of which often leads to their impoverishment and marginalization.   This situation also creates a number of problems for the government and authorities of the territory where people are displaced, and for society in general.  Compulsory displacement not only affects displaced persons, but also the neighbors who are left behind (communities of origin), the host populations (communities of destination) and territorial entities.

 

Resettlement of population


Resettlement is the appropriate measure to prevent, mitigate and compensate the negative impacts faced by displaced persons and other groups involved, and to turn it into a development opportunity.

Resettlement is a planned process that seeks to improve or at least to restore, in a sustainable way, the socioeconomic conditions and living standards of the displaced populations, without negatively impacting the communities of origin that are left behind and the host populations.

Resettlement is a multidimensional process involving physical, legal, social, cultural, economic, environmental, political, administrative, temporal, and territorial aspects, and all these dimensions must be properly addressed and planned for success in a resettlement process.

 

Terms and concepts


Involuntary displacement and resettlement have been addressed by multilateral organizations that finance development projects and by international cooperation agencies in cases relating to natural disasters and violent conflicts. The former have focused on resettlement as a means of restoring living standards of displaced populations and the latter have focused particularly on humanitarian assistance to alleviate the effects of displacement. There has been very little interaction between these two approaches, which has led to the formulation of different concepts and different terms to describe the same processes. Multilateral development banks use the term "involuntary resettlement" to mean the planned process whereby displaced persons are provided the conditions needed to restore or improve their living standards in a new place.

For their part, international cooperation agencies have opted for the term "forced displacement" and apply the concept of "resettlement" only in the case of refugees (those who move to a country other than the one where the displacement was generated) who have to move to a third country. For the relocation and restoration of the living conditions of people displaced by natural disasters and the effects of climate change, these international agencies have coined the term "planned relocation" to distinguish it from the term resettlement explained above.

ERES adopted the term “compulsory displacement,” which was used in the 1970s by academics, considering that this term more adequately describes  the process referred to, since in it people are obligatorily displaced by a decision imposed by an actor or by an external event beyond their control. The term "forced" is associated with the use of force, a situation that occurs mainly in cases of displacement caused by violent conflicts. On the other hand, although displacement is mandatory, resettlement should be voluntary, since people should have  the right to choose voluntarily where to live from different resettlement alternatives. For this reason, ERES eliminates the concept of "involuntary resettlement,” and uses the concept of resettlement instead of planned relocation because of the difference in their meaning and because it is the term that has traditionally been used in Latin America and the Caribbean for all types of resettlement, regardless of the cause that gives rise to it. ERES includes the study of displacement and resettlement due to all causes and hopes to contribute to creating a bridge between the two communities that have worked on these issues since both have much knowledge and experience to share. This will strengthen the production of knowledge and improve practices aimed at helping displaced populations rebuild their lives.Compulsory displacement and resettlement have been addressed by multilateral organizations that finance development projects and by international cooperation agencies in cases relating to natural disasters and violent conflicts. The former have focused on resettlement as a means of restoring living standards of displaced populations and the latter have focused particularly on humanitarian assistance to alleviate the effects of displacement. There has been very little interaction between these two approaches, which has led to the formulation of different concepts and different terms to describe the same processes. Multilateral development banks use the term "involuntary resettlement" to mean the planned process whereby displaced persons are provided the conditions needed to restore or improve their living standards in a new place.

For their part, international cooperation agencies have opted for the term "forced displacement" and apply the concept of "resettlement" only in the case of refugees (those who move to a country other than the one where the displacement was generated) who have to move to a third country. For the relocation and restoration of the living conditions of people displaced by natural disasters and the effects of climate change, these international agencies have coined the term "planned relocation" to distinguish it from the term resettlement explained above.

ERES adopted the term “compulsory displacement,” which was used in the 1970s by academics, considering that this term more adequately describes the process referred to, since in it people are obligatorily displaced by a decision imposed by an actor or by an external event beyond their control. The term "forced" is associated with the use of force, a situation that occurs mainly in cases of displacement caused by violent conflicts. On the other hand, although displacement is mandatory, resettlement should be voluntary, since people should have the right to choose voluntarily where to live from different resettlement alternatives. For this reason, ERES eliminates the concept of "involuntary resettlement,” and uses the concept of resettlement instead of “planned relocation”because of the difference in their meaning and because it is the term that has traditionally been used in Latin America and the Caribbean for all types of resettlement, regardless of the cause that gives rise to it. ERES includes the study of displacement and resettlement due to all causes and hopes to contribute to creating a bridge between the two communities that have worked on these issues since both have much knowledge and experience to share. This will strengthen the production of knowledge and improve practices aimed at helping displaced populations rebuild their lives.

 

 

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