A Holistic, Restorative and Gendered approach to Guide Returnees to their Home country

  • Lechkar, Iman (Administrative Promotor)
  • Fadil, Nadia (Co-Promotor)
  • Detry, Isabelle (Co-Promotor)
  • Vrielink, Jogchum (Co-Promotor)

Project Details


REGUIDE develops a holistic, restorative and gendered approach towards the reintegration of returnees and their families into the Belgian society, and by doing that directly addresses two interrelated societal challenges: security and returnee reintegration.
Since the outbreak of the Syrian War in 2011, more than 5.000 European citizens have travelled to Syria and Iraq to join various jihadi extremist groups. About 1.000 children accompanied their parents, while another 600 were born in the conflict zone from at least one European parent (Renard & Coolsaet, 2018). By 2017, one third of these foreign fighters (FFs) and a few hundreds of children have returned to their European home countries. Belgium has one the highest ratio of returnees per capita in Europe. Consequently, in addition to the domestic radicalization and terrorism threat posed by IS sympathizers who did not travel to Syria and Iraq and those who wanted to travel but who have been intercepted by their governments, Europe has been concerned with security risks posed by returnees and therefore the reintegration needs of returnees and their families in the last decade as well, challenges that have been expressed in several EU documents (see Council of the European Union,2017).
REGUIDE aims to support the Belgian government and society to develop solid knowledge and expertise by: 1) creating a multidisciplinary and multi-stakeholders Living Lab of expertise or returnee reintegration; 2) analysing and evaluating media and political discourses, legislation and judicial practices, and deradicalization and reintegration policies and programmes on returnees and understanding their own experiences of reintegration; 3) developing sustained restorative approaches for returnees, prisons and probation, and society, 4) developing tools and recommendations for prisons and probations and other practitioners and policy makers, and 5) disseminating and exploiting the knowledge at the Federal and European level.
The project thus directly addresses the longstanding security challenge in the second research call priority “Societal shocks, between (r)evolution and societal resilience” by creating societal resilience and capacity to provide collective responses to the big and unpredictable societal challenge of terrorism. By directly addressing the security challenge of the reintegration of returnees we also connect this societal challenge with the question of migration. REGUIDE aligns with research priorities regarding governance, management, integration of migration and reasons of migrating and re- migrating addressed in the third research call priority “Migration”. More specifically, REGUIDE aims to reconcile the ‘clash’ of cultures and outline paths towards a shared future by developing a holistic, restorative and gendered approach to guide returnees to their home countries. As a result, REGUIDE will support prisons, probations, policy makers, returnees, their families, Belgian (and European)societies towards creating a context of sustainable peace and security.
Short title or EU acronymREGUIDE
Effective start/end date1/01/2131/12/24


  • Migration

Flemish discipline codes in use since 2023

  • Citizenship, immigration and political inequality not elsewhere classified
  • Punishment and criminal justice
  • Anthropology of religion
  • Ethnicity and migration studies
  • Political and legal anthropology


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