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The Ethics and Practice of Refugee Repatriation

Mollie Gerver

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Combines qualitative fieldwork with analytic philosophy to provide guidelines for when it is right to help refugees repatriate

Every year, millions of people flee their countries to seek asylum abroad. When they arrive, many are forced into enclosed camps or denied residency rights. Some try to repatriate home, preferring the risks of returning to a life without freedom. Mollie Gerver considers when bodies such as the UN, government agencies and NGOs ought to help refugees to return home. Drawing on original interviews with 172 refugees before and after repatriation, she resolves seven moral puzzles arising from repatriation.

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1. Introduction
2. Coercion
3. Misinformation
4. Regret
5. Payments
6. Children
7. Discrimination
8. Restitution
9. Conclusion
Appendix A
Appendix B.

About the Author

Mollie Gerver is an Assistant Professor in Political Theory at the University of Essex. She obtained her PhD from the London School of Economics, and specializes in migration and the philosophy of consent. Her work has appeared in a number of journals, including the British Journal of Political Science, Political Studies, and Politics, Philosophy and Economics.


This is a ground-breaking study of the ethics of repatriation. Mollie Gerver skilfully combines analytical political philosophy and empirical fieldwork to discuss the dilemmas of refugee repatriation and to suggest criteria for when it is morally acceptable. The book will be read with great interest by both academics and policy-makers.

- Lea Ypi, London School of Economics and Political Science

Mollie Gerver’s work is an outstanding attempt to reflect critically on refugee repatriation through a combination of rigorous philosophical analysis and empirical findings gleaned from interviews with refugees and NGOs. Her honest, unblinking, and genuinely original study is indispensable reading for anyone interested in the morality of contemporary responses to refugees.

- Matthew J. Gibney, University of Oxford

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