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No Return, No RefugeRites and Rights in Minority Repatriation$
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Elazar Barkan and Howard Adelman

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231153362

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231153362.001.0001

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Rights and Return

Rights and Return

(p.220) [9] Rights and Return
No Return, No Refuge

Howard Adelman

Elazar Barkan

Columbia University Press

This chapter analyzes the right of return in a political and demographic context. The rights of return—as far as national and ethnic minorities are concerned—have difficulty gaining universal political backing instead of merely rhetorical support since politics equates national interest with an unmitigated calculation of the relative power of different political actors. Thus, there is no right of return if a state power rejects the return of a relatively weak group of refugees. However, if those refugees have powerful state backers, a state may bend even if return is considered not to be in its interests. Generally, populations reject the return of another ethnic group because of their own demographic concerns with remaining a majority, because of a perceived threat, or because return conflicts with their own right of self-determination.

Keywords:   right of return, ethnic minorities, political actors, refugees, ethnic group, politics

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