This Report will be focused on returnees who are citizens of Serbia and Montenegro and who no longer satisfy the conditions for receiving temporary protection in the Western European countries where they have been residing. The conditions under which citizens of Serbia and Montenegro are being returned to the country from which they had fled at some time in the past and in which they are now trying to start a new life are often incredibly difficult. There are no protective measures for their reintegration and the readmission agreements contain no guarantees that they will be taken care of upon their return. Returnees are often unaccounted for in the official statistics, and surveys of the situation made by some non-governmental organisations only reveal fragments of the problem. Although the returnees differ from one another, by nationality, age and education, they share the same difficult economic and social situation once they have returned to SCG. This text will not make a distinction between the people who were removed by force and those who “voluntarily” returned as research shows that they were often pressured to return voluntarily in order to avoid the large number of difficulties resulting from a forced return with an official escort.

The purpose of this paper is to give an overview of the human rights situation of returnees from western countries, and to give recommendations for resolving the main issues that returnees face prior to, during and after their return to SCG. It is intended for the governmental institutions of Serbia and Montenegro, local authorities, NGOs, the governments of western countries, and international organisations working on migration issues. The paper stresses that the problems resulting from the return of people on the basis of readmission agreements should be approached in a differentiated, multifarious, and mutually harmonised manner in the interest of both the returnees and the society into which they are returning. The intent of this paper is to contribute to the safe readmission of returnees with full respect being given to their dignity and human rights.

July 2005

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