Austria

– 

Figures

Protection regime

Temporary protection on the basis of the 1991 Asylum Act modified in 1997, 2003 and 2005

 Return policy/Forced repatriations

 –

Documents

Bundesgesetz, mit dem die Grundversorgung von Asylwerbern im Zulassungsverfahren und bestimmten anderen Fremden geregelt wird (Grundversorgungsgesetz – Bund 2005 – GVG-B 2005), BGBl. Nr. 405/1991 idF BGBl. I Nr. 100/2005

Belgium

Figures

According to some estimates there are as many as 8,000 Kosovo Roma in Belgium, most of them living in the area around Antwerpen.

According to NGO information, 95 percent of the Kosovo Roma have been granted subsidiary protection on the basis of the Alien from 15 September 2006.

Protection regime

Alien Act

Subsidiary protection on the basis of the Law from 15 September 2006 modifying the Law from 15 December 1980

Return Policy/Forced repatriations

Belgium has negotiated a Memorandum on refugee returns with UNMIK in February 2007 on the basis of the UNHCR’s position from June 2006.

Documents

Loi modifiant la loi du 15 décembre 1980 sur l’accès au territoire, le séjour, l’établissement et l’éloignement des étrangers

Loi sur l’accueil des demandeurs d’asile et de certaines autres catégories d’étrangers, 12 January 2007

Denmark

Figures

18 to 20 families and 7 to 10 single persons giving a total of about 125 people

15 families and 4 single persons under temporary protection for humanitarian grounds (6 to 12 months)

Protection regime

Temporary protection on humanitarian grounds

The Danish authorities have not recognised the political character of the persecution of Kosovo Roma, even for people who were actively involved in politics in Kosovo.

Return policy/Forced repatriations

According to Amnesty International, only one Roma, convicted of a minor criminal offence, is known to have been deported to date (May 2007).

Documents

Aliens Consolidation Act No. 945 of 1 September 2006

Reports

European Roma Rights Center: Further Attempts by Denmark to Force Roma to “Voluntarily” Return to Kosovo, in: Roma Rights, Nr. 3/2003

Støttrup Thomsen, Eric/Haliti, Murat:  Roma/Gypsies and Danish Alien Policy, 2003

France

Figures

According to the OFPRA, 90 percent of the asylum seekers from Serbia and Montegro applying for asylum in France in 2006 were from Kosovo, and one third of them Roma.

Protection regime

Temporary protection, political asylum on the basis of the 1951 Geneva convention

According to a survey produced by the Commission Nationale Consultative des Droits de l’Homme in February 2008, Roma from the former Yugoslavia and Kosovo were granted the refugee status in France. This changed in 1985, with the adoption of a new law on the entry and stay of immigrants in France which introduces enhanced procedures for asylum seekers coming from countries which are considered as safe.

Return policy/Forced Repatriations

Documents

Loi no 98-349 du 11 mai 1998 relative à l’entrée et au séjour des étrangers en France et au droit d’asile

Reports

Romeurope: Les Rroms migrants européens (roumains, bulgares ou d’ex-Yougoslavie) boucs émissaires de Monsieur Hortefeux pour tenir ses objectifs d’expulsion du territoire (Dossier de presse), June 2007

Germany

Figures

According to UNHCR Germany, as of January 2007, of 35,000 persons from Kosovo with “tolerated status” (Duldung) in Germany there were 24,000 Roma, 8,200 Ashkali, 1,800 Egyptians and 700 Serbs. (Source: AI 2007)

Asylum applications submitted by Roma from Serbia and Montenegro between 1999 and 2006 (new applications)

1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
6,983 4,617 2,703 2,003 1,654 1,256 2,179 1,376  

Source: Bundesamt für Migration: Migrationsbericht 2006, Berlin

Protection regime

 Duldung, “toleration status”, provisional on regular renewal

A survey conducted by the Centre for Research on Anti-Semitism of the Technical University in Berlin on the Behalf of UNICEF Germany found that about two third of the refugee families from the former Yugoslavia have only a temporary status (“Duldung”, “toleration”) in Germany. As a result, they are not entitled to work and are excluded from family allowances and other social benefits. In some Länder such as in the Saar, children are not entitled to attend school, in other Länder such as Baden Würtemberg and Hessen, school attendance is not compulsory. (UNICEF 2007)

Return Policy/Forced repatriations

The German federal authorities signed a first memorandum of understanding on refugee returns with UNMIK on 17 November 1999. This agreement provided the basis for the return of Kosovo Albanians to Kosovo. 83 percent of the people who had returned to Kosovo on the basis of this agreement by the end of November 2004 did so voluntarily, while 17 percent – roughly 18,200 persons – were forcibly returned.

On 31 March 2003, the German Federal Minister of the Interior, Otto Schily, and then-UN Special Representative for Kosovo, Michael Steiner, signed a new Memorandum of Understanding regulating the start of forcible returns for members of ethnic minorities.

In April 2005, the German Federal Minister of Interior, Otto Schily, signed a new  Memorandum of Understanding with UNMIK. according to this agreement, Germany has been entitled to submit each months a list of 300 and, as of August 2005, 500 possible cases of return. From that list only 20 percent may be returned on the basis of case by case assessment by UNMIK’s Office for Return and Communities (ORC).

This procedure was revised on 1 March 2006 with a view of facilitating forced repatriations of Roma, Ashkalija and Kosvo Egyptians. In 2007, Germany was the first country to forcibly repatriate people to Kosovo: Out of 3,125 forcibly repatriated persons 896 came from Germany alone.

Documents

Asylum Act (Asylverfahrensgesetz) as of 26 June 1992

Agreed note signed between UNMIK and Germany, 26 April 2005

UNMIK press release

Letter of the Kosovo Ombudsman to the Germany, Italy and Sweden concerning forced repatriation of Roma refugees, March 2005

Reply by the German Minister of Interior to the OKI, 24 March 2005 

Reply by the German Minister of the Interior to the OIK, 27 September 2005

Reports

UNICEF: Zur Lage von Kindern aus Romafamilien in Deutschland, 2007

Italy

Figures

7,000 refugees arriving in Summer 1999 (ERRC 1999), 12,000 according to UNDP

Protection regime

Temporary protection: Law on Temporary Protection, 1999

According to the European Roma Rights Centre, Italian practice concerning the recognition of Roma from Kosovo in particular has been extremely restrictive.

Return policy/Forced repatriations

Documents

Letter of the Kosovo Ombudsman to the Germany, Italy and Sweden concerning forced repatriation of Roma refugees, March 2005 

Letter from Minister of Internal Affairs of Italy regarding return of persons of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian ethnicity, 20 June 2005 

ERRC: Letter to Mr. Guiseppe Pisano, Minister of Interior, and Guiseppe Caruso, Police Commissioner in Palermo, regarding the alleged imminent expulsion of Kosovo Roma, 17 February 2005

The Netherlands

Figures

No official figures available.

Protection regime

According to information provided by the NGO Roma Emancipatie, a substantial number of Kosovo Roma in the Netherlands, arrived there before the war and were able to regularise their refugee status in the context of the regularisation campaign “General Pardon” in 2007. Roma Emancipatie estimates that there are only some 20 to 25 families left, who do not have a regular residence status in the Netherlands.

Refugee returns/forced repatriation

Documents

Sweden

Figures

There are an estimated 5,000 Roma from the former Yugoslavia in Sweden most of whom arrived as asylum seekers in the 1990s.

Protection regime

Temporary protection

Return policy/Forced repatriation

 Sweden signed a first memorandum of understanding on voluntary returns with UNMIK in December 2004.

A new memorandum was signed on 13 February 2006. This agreement covers the forced return of failed asylum seekers including persons belonging to ethnic minorities to Kosovo, including, on the basis of a case by case assessment, of Ashkalija and Kosovo Egyptians. This agreement facilitates forced repatriations to Kosovo, and shortens the period of advance notification to UNMIK.

Documents

Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Kingdom of Sweden and UNMIK as of 16 December 2004

Memorandum between the government of the Kingdom of Sweden and UN, 2006

UNMIK: UNMIK and Sweden sign memorandum of understanding on repatriation, 13 February 2006 (Press release)

Letter of the Kosovo Ombudsman to the Germany, Italy and Sweden concerning forced repatriation of Roma refugees, March 2005

Reply of the Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs to the OIK regarding forced returns to Kosovo

Switzerland

Figures

5,900 asylum seekers from Serbia (including Kosovo) with temporary protection status of which 570 with expulsion order until December 2007 (no ethnic breakdown available).

Source: Federal Office for Migration

Protection regime

Asylum Act

Subsidiary protection on humanitarian grounds

According to NGO information, not a single Rom from Kosovo has been granted asylum on the basis of the 1951 Geneva Convention.

In October 2008, the Office of Migration announced plans to return people belonging to ethnic minorities from Kosovo including Roma from 2009 on.

Return policy/Forced repatriation

In April 2000, Switzerland signed a memorandum of understanding with UNMIK which covers both, voluntary and forced returns, of people from Kosovo.

The Swiss Federal authorities consider that the situation of ethnic minorities in Kosovo has considerably improved since March 2004.

Documents

Asylum Act as of 16 December 2005 with changes applicable as of 1 January 2007 

Memorandum of Understanding, signed between Switzerland and UNMIK on 6 April 2000

Memorandum of understanding signed between Switzerland, available at:

Bundesamt für Migration: Kosovo: Lage der Minderheiten, 31 August 2006, available at:

http://www.bfm.admin.ch/etc/medialib/data/migration/laenderinformationen/herkunftslaenderinformationen/europa_und_gus.Par.0014.File.tmp/Kosovo_Minderheiten_public.pdf

Reports

Forum gegen Rassismus (Kälin, Walter, et al.:  Die flüchtlingsrechtliche Situation asylsuchender Roma und Aschkali in der Schweiz, 1999

Western Europe (general)

Documents

See also “Refugee Protection” 

PACE: Recommendation 1633 (2003): Forced returns of Roma from the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, including Kosovo, to Serbia and Montenegro from Council of Europe member states, available at:

http://assembly.coe.int/Documents/AdoptedText/ta03/EREC1633.htm

Reply from SRSG to the OIK regarding forced returns to Kosovo, 15 June 2005, available at:

http://www.ombudspersonkosovo.org/repository/docs/E1050616a1.pdf

and:

http://www.ombudspersonkosovo.org/repository/docs/E1050616a2.pdf

Reports

Amnesty International: No forcible returns of ethnic minorities to Kosovo, 31 May 2007

ERRC: Kosovo Roma today: violence, insecurity, enclaves and displacement, in: Roma Rights Nr. 3/2000, available at: http://lists.errc.org/rr_nr1_2000/kosovo.shtml

Grupa 484: Return from Western Europe of nationals from Serbia and Montenegro who were not granted asylum or whose temporary protection ended, 2005

UNDP: At risk: Vulnerability: Kosovo, 2000

Romano Them: By Force if necessary Romano Them: By Force if necessary – Minority Returns to Kosovo after Independence, February 2008