22 January 2010 – Kosovo’s declaration of independence in 2008 created new uncertainty for 230,000 IDPs from Kosovo residing in Serbia and the 19,700 displaced within Kosovo; this overview focuses on the latter group. Despite initial fears of the contrary, there have been no major incidents targeting minority communities and no further displacement since 2008. Serbia has not recognised the independence of Kosovo, continuing to regard it as a UN-governed entity within its sovereign territory.

Few of those displaced in 1999 have found durable solutions, and prospects are limited: the political, security and economic situation is not conducive to return, and many IDPs face difficulties in repossessing property and obtaining legal documentation. Widespread discrimination against Serbs and Roma people has made it difficult for them to return to areas in which they were in a minority. The rate of return decreased further in 2008 from an already low level, as IDPs waited to evaluate the approach of the Kosovo authorities towards Kosovo Serbs and other non-Albanian communities, and increased only slightly in 2009. Many reconstructed houses remain empty or are being sold as people do not dare to return.

National and international actors have developed projects to help minority communities, whether displaced or not, improve their living conditions, and to prevent further displacement. An increasing number of projects are offering permanent housing in the place of displacement.

Source: Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre

The report is available for download here.