‘Assisted’ and ‘Voluntary’ Return? Implementation of AVRR schemes in Afghanistan, by Rabia Salihi

We are pleased to alert you to ISS working paper 676, entitled ‘Assisted’ and ‘Voluntary’ Return? Implementation of AVRR schemes in Afghanistan, by Rabia Salihi, the Jos Mooij Research Paper Award winner for the academic year 2019-2020.


Afghanistan signed a ‘return, readmission, and reintegration’ agreement with the European Union in 2016, the Joint Way Forward, and legally entered the assisted voluntary return and reintegration (AVRR) schemes. However, the refugees only reaped the aftermath of this decision, many reporting to have received little to none of the assistance they were promised before return. Their narrative of the voluntariness of their return also seems to be very colourful and is an interesting area to investigate what they perceive as voluntary and how they define these programmes. Drawing upon 25 interviews with Afghans who were returned during 2015-2018 from multiple European states, this research analyses these return ‘decisions’ and its voluntariness and the assistance provided for returns that have taken place under AVRR programmes in the Afghan context. This research will attempt to understand and analyse this missing narrative of returnees within the global migration governance and politics, including an investigation into the role of the IOM, the EU and few other European States, and the Afghan government.


Return, forced return, deportation, assisted voluntary return and reintegration (AVRR), Joint Way Forward (JWF), migration, IOM, Afghanistan, Europe, European Union (EU).


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