6 June 2008 – The situation of Kosovo refugees was one of the topics of the visit of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, to Montenegro. During his five-day visit, the Commissioner visited collective centres in Podgorica and Berane.

The Commissioner acknowledged that Montenegro provided home for many refugees from Kosovo, but regretted that many of them still do not have a regularised status. He encouraged the Montenegrin government to tackle this urgent problem with priority.

Nine years after the end of the war, there are still about 16,000 refugees from Kosovo in Montenegro, many of them Roma. After becoming independent, Montenegro adopted a new asylum law. However, this law has not been used in order to get the refugees a regular status.

In a report, Amnesty International criticised that shortly after its adoption of the new law the Montenegrin authorities started negotiations with the Kosovo government on a return of the refugees.

The whole text of the Commissioner’s press release is available here.

Romano Them