This paper focuses on the response by the international community to events during the summer and autumn of 1998, in particular on that of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in its efforts to provide for protection and assistance to internally displaced persons in Kosovo. The main question raised is whether UNHCR is able to provide effective protection and assistance to internally displaced persons in an emergency situation, such as the one in Kosovo. Therefore the protection strategy developed by UNHCR, the obstacles in implementing the strategy concerned, as well as its success or failure will be analyzed. The paper concludes with a discussion of the situation at the end of 1998, and in particular the challenges ahead for both UNHCR and the Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM) of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). This analysis uses information gathered by the author during a field visit to Kosovo and Belgrade between the end of September and early October 1998.

The paper is available at:

http://web.mit.edu/cis/www/migration/pubs/rrwp/3_protectIDPs.html