Refugee Action calls for an international development approach to Assisted Voluntary Return

Last updated July 8, 2013Press release

Refugee Action is delighted to welcome its partners from around the world for its first conference exploring the future of assisted voluntary return (AVR).

The charity and its network of international partners are using the two day conference in London to explore whether the approach to AVR is limited to borders or whether AVR has an increased role in international development.

In the UK, the Choices AVR service is run by Refugee Action and funded by the Home Office. It is one of many services run by Refugee Action to support refugees and asylum seekers throughout their often long and difficult journey. All the charity’s services are focused on empowering asylum seekers and refugees to make decisions about their own future.

Refugee Action is warning that by having an AVR service that is accountable to border enforcement, vital opportunities to build sustainable futures in countries of return are being missed.

Speaking to the conference’s international delegates, Dave Garratt, Chief Executive of Refugee Action, said:

“This conference is an exciting opportunity to come together as a sector to share best practice and innovations. It also gives the chance to debate together how we ensure this important service is driven by its ability to increase sustainable development.

“It is essential returnees are at the heart of any AVR service. Returnees do not exist in isolation but return with and to families and communities. This work needs to be better aligned with the development work which already exists in countries of return.

“Those best placed to drive sustainable development are the charities from within the countries of return. We urgently need to find more ways to build their capacity so that people and communities involved in AVR have opportunities to build positive and sustainable futures.”

Find out more about the Choices AVR service, providing free, confidential advice and information about return.

For media enquires please contact the Refugee Action press office.