Reintegration of Former Combatants

Since 1992, IOM has supported the design and implementation of some of the largest Disarmament Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) operations in the world. These operations have assisted thousands of former combatants and their dependents to return to normal civilian life after many years of conflict and as such, have contributed to national and regional reconciliation and stabilization, preventing further negative migration.

DDR operations are complex and are often characterised by continuing security risks, weak or absent public administration and protracted discussions over issues not sufficiently explained in peace negotiations or agreements.

DDR operations comprise many inter-related tasks, which include political, military, humanitarian, security and socio-economic activities. Experience has shown that neglecting one of these components can quickly lead to the failure of an entire process.

During protracted conflicts, most former combatants may have spent more than ten years in the military and often have no immediate marketable skills and little or no training other than using a gun and fighting. Often blamed for the excesses of war and unable to find alternative employment, they can easily become marginalised and disgruntled. If left unchecked, security conditions can very quickly deteriorate and may end up serving as the catalyst for a return to armed conflict. Thus, their reintegration within the host community is a key component for community stabilization and prevention of forced displacement after peace agreements. IOM's view on social protection is through an operational perspective and focuses on the return and reintegration phases whilst mitigating the factors that cause tension and displacement.

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