Belgrade, 19 January 2008 — A round table held in Belgrade Friday looked at the most serious problems faced by Serbia’s large refugee population. Finding permanent accommodation, jobs and attaining social security top the list, participants of a gathering dubbed “Local Integration of Refugees in the Region of Belgrade – Situation and Prospects” concluded.
The president of the board of managers of the Serbian Democratic Forum, Miodrag Linta, said that of the 100,000 refugees in Serbia, 30 percent are located in the territory of the capital.
For this reason, it is necessary to set up a council for refugees at the municipal level, he explained.
Belgrade should also form a fund for to assist the refugees financially, similar to the Vojvodina Fund that was set up in late 2006, Linta said.
Assistant Commissioner for Refugees Suzana Mišić pointed out that the state is engaged in improving the position of the refugees and that the process of their integration is the priority.
“We are doing everything possible to resolve the issue of their accommodation but, unfortunately, there are increasingly less donations, while problems are mounting,” Mišić added, underscoring that the Commissariat is constantly lobbying the international community for new funds.
Beside the refugees, mostly Serbs from Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia proper is also home to a large population of internally displaced persons from Kosovo – some 188,000 Serbs.