Should humanitarian organisations help with coerced repatriation?

About the speaker:

Dr Gerver has recently completed a PhD at the London School of Economics, and is currently a teaching fellow in the philosophy department at the University of Leeds. Her research considers the ethics of refugee repatriation, focusing special attention on refugees who are detained by the government and wish to repatriate with the help of NGOs. It is not clear if NGOs should help with such return, given the involuntary nature of refugees’ choices. To consider how NGOs should respond, Dr Gerver considers the broader philosophical question of when we should accept consent as valid, and when coercion from third parties undermines consent.

In addition to considering philosophical dilemmas of repatriation and consent, Dr Gerver has conducted fieldwork in South Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Thailand, interviewing 160 former refugees and migrants who had repatriated from Israel with the help of NGOs. Based on her data, an estimated 5% of all returnees to South Sudan died within two years of repatriating. The majority who survived were displaced or without shelter, medical care, or food security.

Prior to her PhD at LSE, Dr Gerver worked as an educational consultant in Eastern District, Rwanda.