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The ethics of assisted voluntary returns

Public Policy
Asylum
Normative Theory
Refugee
Eleonora Milazzo
European Policy Centre & Egmont Institute
Eleonora Milazzo
European Policy Centre & Egmont Institute

Abstract

Voluntary return and reintegration programmes support the repatriation of migrants who are unable or unwilling to remain in the host country and wish to return to their country of origin. While voluntary returns are increasingly promoted by EU member states’ governments, the voluntariness and safety of such schemes has been repeatedly called into question. This article aims to provide a comprehensive normative assessment of voluntary return policies. Are voluntary return programmes morally acceptable instruments in the governance of return migration? In what ways are they substantially different from forced returns?