HOME IS WHERE THE WAR IS is a documentary feature on refugee repatriation and deportation, currently in production by SOMEWHERE FILMS.
Politicians and peacekeepers responsible for containing the chaos of the global refugee crisis have lost the ability to do so. The new response to this uncertain era has been to pull back from helping refugees resettle and integrate into new communities. Instead, repatriation has become the preferred option.
The cornerstone to the 1951 Refugee Convention is the conceptof non-refoulement. This means that refugees cannot be forcibly returned to the country they are fleeing. But the scope of the situation has pushed funding to the limit.
Donor fatigue has resulted in reductions of aid for camps. Countries attempt to shirk responsibility by paying asylum seekers hard cash to withdraw their claims. Many are caught between living in a country without dignity versus returning to a country withoutsecurity.
What does “voluntary” mean when none of your options are good? Is the present climate incentivising sending people back into harm’s way?
2018: PRODUCTION WRAPPED
Karen refugees in Mae Sot, Thailand. This community is dealing with dwindling food rations due to donor fatigue as aid resources relocate to Myanmar and many feel they are being pressured to repatriate, despite ongoing conflict.
Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Shot during the announcement of the repatriation deal between Myanmar and Bangladesh.
Afghan refugees in Peshawar, Pakistan. Following the 2016 push from the Pakistani government to return refugees through pressure tactics like expiring registration cards and police crack downs.
Iraqis in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan, who have returned from Europe to a country they've previously fled from.
Syrian refugees in Lebanon, sitting and waiting as the local government, UNHCR, Hezbollah, Assad and Russia vie for authority over when and under what conditions they can, or should, return to a country with questionable security.
Returnees from Pakistan and Europe in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Asylum seekers in Germany and Sweden who are either being deported on questionable legal grounds or considering accepting the cash incentives offered by their respective host countries to ‘voluntarily’ repatriate.
Anna Dobos is a cinematographer and photographer whose work has been published in Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, the New York Times, i-D, Polyester Zine, CRACK Mag, Oyster Mag and more. She is a video contributor at Getty Images.
Shireen Hinckley is an editor who has created awareness campaigns and promotional pieces for non-profits like The Nature Conservancy and Great Public Schools Now. She also has worked on documentary films about refugees, culture, and film.
Anh Phan is a producer who has worked on both scripted and unscripted content—live-action and motion graphics—for Fortune 500 companies like Ford, Toyota, Dell, and L’Oreal.
Other members of Somewhere Films will be contributing along the way! You can read about them here.