“Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.”

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 14(1)

 

Refugees and IDPs in Southeast Europe

UNHCR Estimates, July 2007

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Figures

According to the Society for threatened people there are around 1,000 Kosovo Roma refugees in Bosnia-Herzegovina of which only 600 have registered.

Protection Regime

“Since 1999, Bosnia and Herzegovina has been granting temporary admission status to persons from Serbia and Montenegro, whose last place of residence was Kosovo. This status was withdrawn at the end of September 2007 when around 3,000 refugees originating fromKosovo lost their right to temporary refuge. A number of them have been granted refugee status or have submitted asylum applications in the meantime.” 

Source: European Commission: Bosnia and Herzegovina 2007 Progress Report 

“As a result of the 1999 conflict in the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), approximately 6,000 persons, half of them from Kosovo, fled the FRY and came to the country. According to UNHCR statistics from June, 521 refugees from Serbia and Montenegro, including refugees from Kosovo, remained in collective centers. An additional 3,098 refugees from Serbia and Montenegro were also living in communities throughout the country. By October the government had not accepted any of these refugees for local integration or permanent status in the country. During the year the government extended the “temporarily admitted persons” status to approximately 3,000 Kosovars, a status that neither precludes nor facilitates asylum, residency, or naturalization under the 1951 convention and the 1967 protocol.”

Source: U.S.: Department of State: Bosnia and Herzegovina Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2006, Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor March 6, 2007 

“In April 2007, representatives of the over 800 Romani refugees from Kosovo expressed concern about the authorities’ plans to lift their temporary admission (protection) on 30 June 2007 and return them to Kosovo where they are at risk of racist attacks and experience discrimination in access to political, economic and social rights. After intervention by the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, the Council of Ministers extended for a further 90 days the temporary admission status of refugees from Kosovo. The Council of Ministers decided that this would be the last such extension.”

Source: Amnesty International USA: Europe: Discrimination against Roma, 25 October 2007

As of September 2010 Bosnia hosted 129 Kosovo Roma under temporary protection status, according to Human Rights Watch. (World Report 2010)

Documents

Instruction on the Temporary Admission to Bosnia and Herzegovina of Refugees from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) from 20 May 1999

Instruction on the Temporary Admission to Bosnia and Herzegovina of Refugees from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, 7 February 2002

Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Hercegovina: Decision on the extension of the temporary admission status in Bosnia and Herzegovina of Persons from Serbia and Montenegro whose last place of permanent residence was in Kosovo, 5 July 2006

Law on Movement and Stay of Aliens and Asylum, July 2003

Republic of Macedonia

Figures

As of August 2007, there were 1,907 refugees in Macedonia, most of them Roma from Kosovo

Source: European Union: Progress Report 2007 – Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Protection regime

“The law provides for the granting of asylum or refugee status to persons in accordance with the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 protocol, and the government has established a system for providing protection to refugees. In practice the government provided protection against the expulsion or return of refugees to countries where their lives or freedom would be threatened.

A total of 1,772 asylum seekers, refugees, persons under humanitarian protection, and other persons of concern remained in the country from the 1999 conflict in Kosovo, most of them Roma.

The government granted refugee status in one case during the year. Since 2003, the government has also granted asylum for humanitarian protection to individuals who may not qualify as refugees under the 1951 convention or the 1967 protocol. At year’s end, 1,128 persons from Kosovo were living under this status, subject to periodic review. There was a decline in the number of registered asylum seekers from 171 to 100 due to grants of asylum for humanitarian protection to 75 persons, some voluntary repatriation and departures to unknown destinations, and some final rejections of asylum cases.

According to UNHCR, 2007 and 2008 amendments to the asylum legislation decreased legal safeguards for asylum seekers. UNHCR characterized the quality of the refugee status determination mechanism as low and indicated that its two-stage appeals process was ineffective and resulted only in confirmations of first instance negative decisions. However, the government did not deport any Roma asylum seekers whose asylum applications were rejected. Moreover, UNCHR reported overall progress in the fields of citizenship and reduction of de facto statelessness.

The government began to issue identity documents to asylum seekers, recognized refugees and persons under humanitarian protection and opened a new reception center for asylum seekers on June 4. The center provides shelter for new asylum seekers, but lacked a full range of support services. The law allows refugees and asylum seekers access to employment. Issuance of identity documents to asylum seekers, recognized refugees and persons under humanitarian protection removed one barrier to employment.

On December 29, the government adopted an integration strategy for refugees and persons under humanitarian protection.”

US Department of State: 2008 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: 2008 Human Rights Report: Macedonia, February 25, 2009

“As of August 2007 there were 1,907 refugees/asylum seekers in the country, of whom the vast majority were Roma from Kosovo. The number who received recognised refugee status since the Law on Asylum entered into force has remained unchanged (28). Most applicants have been granted humanitarian protection for up to 12 months. Concerns persist regarding the independence of the government commission that deals with appeals against first-instance decisions on refugee status. The Supreme Court’s handling of appeals is often perfunctory.”

Source: European Commission: The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 2007 – Progress Report 

“Protection of Refugees

The law provides for the granting of asylum or refugee status to persons in accordance with the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 protocol, and the government has established a system for providing protection to refugees. In practice the government provided protection against refoulement, the return of persons to a country where they feared prosecution.

The government granted refugee status and asylum, but only in rare cases. As of October, out of 205 registered asylum seekers, only 28 had been granted humanitarian protection status, and none had received asylum. A total of 1,191 persons had been granted humanitarian protection, a decision subject to annual review. The decline in the numbers of registered asylum seekers and those granted humanitarian protection was due, in part, to some voluntary repatriations and some cases in which the government discontinued humanitarian protection.

According to UNHCR, the refugee status determination (RSD) mechanism was accessible and active, and the overall process was handled in a generally satisfactory manner. The country’s RSD laws were considered satisfactory, but implementation of the RSD procedure in some cases was inadequate. The UNHCR noted shortcomings in refugee interview techniques and worked with Ministry of Interior officials to improve them. A more serious shortcoming in the RSD process noted by the UNHCR was the lack of an effective appeals system for those not initially granted either refugee or asylum status. UNHCR reported that appeals rejected by the administrative courts were usually given only cursory review by the Supreme Court, which simply rubber‑stamped the commission’s decision to deny the appeal.

The government provided humanitarian protection status to most refugees and asylum seekers in the country. However, that status was valid for only 12 months and had to be renewed. In addition, it was subject to non-renewal by the government at any time, which occurred during the year.

The government generally cooperated with the UNHCR and other humanitarian organizations in assisting refugees.

In contrast with the previous year, there were no reports that authorities abused or mistreated refugees. In response to reports in 2005 of sexual abuse or violence against female refugees, UNHCR investigated and called in police authorities for follow-up action where necessary. No arrests or formal charges related to these allegations had been made by year’s end.

There was strong evidence to suggest that Romani refugees were discriminated against in the RSD process, a reflection of general societal discrimination against the Roma. However, Romani refugees in the predominantly Romani municipality of Suto Orizari were generally well tolerated.

At year’s end there were 1,924 Romani refugees remaining in the country from the 1999 conflict in Kosovo. These Roma, many of whom settled in Skopje, were often targets of harassment and verbal abuse.” 

Source: U.S. Department of State: Macedonia: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2006, Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor March 6, 2007

“The law provides for the granting of asylum or refugee status to persons in accordance with the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 protocol, and the government has established a system for providing protection to refugees. In practice the government provided protection against “refoulement,” the return of persons to a country where there is reason to believe they feared prosecution. The government granted refugee status and asylum, but only in rare cases. Only 28 of 164 registered asylum seekers were recognized as refugees during the year. According to December figures, 1,115 persons enjoyed humanitarian protection, a status that was subject to annual review. A small decline in the number of registered asylum seekers and those granted humanitarian protection was due, in part, to some voluntary repatriations, and in part to government determination that circumstances in some foreign countries no longer justified granting humanitarian protection.

According to the UNHCR, a refugee status determination (RSD) mechanism was accessible and active, and the overall process was handled in a generally satisfactory manner. The country’s RSD laws were considered satisfactory, but implementation of the RSD procedure in some cases was inadequate. The UNHCR noted shortcomings in refugee interview techniques and worked with Interior Ministry officials to improve them. A more serious shortcoming noted by the UNHCR was the lack of an effective appeals system for those not initially granted refugee or asylum status by the government’s RSD commission. The UNHCR reported that appeals rejected by courts of first instance were usually given only cursory review by the Supreme Court, which simply rubber‑stamped the RSD commission’s initial decisions.

The government provided humanitarian protection status to most refugees and asylum seekers in the country. However, that status was valid for only 12 months on an individual basis and was subject to nonrenewal, which occurred in a few cases during the year.

At year’s end there were slightly more than 1,850 refugees remaining in the country from the 1999 conflict in Kosovo, most of them Roma. Romani refugees, many of whom settled in Skopje, were often targets of private harassment and verbal abuse. However, refugees in the predominantly Romani municipality of Suto Orizari generally did not experience these problems.”

Source: U.S. Department of State: Macedonia: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2007, Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor March 11, 2008

“In The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia UNHCR’s interventions had a positive impact in the legislative field by improving provisions for refugees and asylum-seekers in the new Law on Aliens, and by ensuring the incorporation of asylum safeguards in the Ministry of Interior’s Instructions on the Identification and Assistance of Victims of Trafficking. However, gaps remain in the asylum procedure. Appeal bodies continue to lack the knowledge and independence that are needed to function effectively, despite UNHCR’s capacity-building efforts to this end. Moreover, most of the asylum-seekers and refugees in the country are ethnic Roma, Ashkalja and Egyptians from Kosovo. Out of more than 1,900 refugees and asylum-seekers, the vast majority are ethnic minorities. 28 persons among the total population of concern to UNHCR attained refugee status, while more than 1,200 persons seeking asylum have other forms of subsidiary/temporary protection, while the rest have been rejected.

As a result, UNHCR continued to provide subsistence and housing/heating allowances, plus primary health care to all refugees hosted in private accommodation.”

 Source: UNHCR: Global Appeal 2006

“The majority of an estimated 2000 predominantly Roma and Ashkalia from Kosovo who remained in Macedonia had been denied refugee status. Those given temporary protection, had it extended on an annual basis, and feared deportation to Kosovo.”

Source: Amnesty International USA: Europe: Discrimination against Roma, 25 October 2007

Documents

Law on Asylum and Temporary Protection, 16 July 2003

Reports

Human Rights Watch: End Cruel Limbo for Kosovo Roma Refugees, December 2003 (in English/in Macedonian)

Karin Waringo: Denied Asylum: Kosovo Roma, Askalija, and Egyptian Refugees in Macedonia, Feburary 2006

www.roma-kosovoinfo.com/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&gid=6

Montenegro

Figures

16,000 IDPs, mainly Roma from Kosovo

Source: UNHCR estimates 19 November 2007 

Protection regime

“Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)

Although the country became independent of Serbia on June 3, 16,619 persons displaced from Kosovo were still listed by the government as “internally displaced persons.” The country lists another 6,926 persons originally from Croatia or Bosnia and Herzegovina as “displaced persons.” These persons may in fact be refugees according to international law and the country’s new law on asylum, but no formal determination of their status was made. Another 24 persons with origins other than Kosovo, Croatia, or Bosnia and Herzegovina were registered with the government.  

Protection of Refugees

On July 6, the Assembly passed an asylum law that provides for the granting of asylum or refugee status to persons in accordance with the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 protocol. The government established a system for providing protection to refugees that was to take effect on January 25, 2007. In practice the government provided some protection against refoulement, the return of persons to a country where they feared persecution. According to established procedures, during the year authorities referred refugee cases to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for adjudication; during the year five persons applied to UNHCR for refugee status; all were rejected.

The government was also prepared to provide temporary protection to individuals who may not qualify as refugees under the 1951 Convention and the 1967 protocol; however, no persons requested such protection during the year.

The government cooperated with the UNHCR and other humanitarian organizations in assisting refugees and asylum seekers. Conditions for refugees varied; those with relatives or property in the country were able to find housing and, in some cases, employment.” 

Source: U.S. Department of State: Montenegro – Country Reports on Human Rights Practices  – 2006, Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor March 6, 2007 

“In addition to 6,926 people displaced from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia before 1995, some 16,196 Roma and Serbs displaced from Kosovo in 1999 remained in Montenegro at the end of 2006 with civil registration being denied to them. No displaced people had been granted refugee status under an asylum law introduced earlier in the year, and which the authorities had not yet fully implemented.

In February 2007, the Ministry of Interior opened discussions with the Kosovo authorities on the return of the displaced Roma and Serbs to Kosovo, despite recommendations by the UN refugee agency that Roma, who made up the majority, should not be returned. ”

Amnesty International USA: Europe: Discrimination against Roma, 25 October 2007

Statistics

IDPs in Montenegro

 October 2005, Source: Council of Europe/Roma and Travellers Division

Serbia

Figures

206,100 IDPs from Kosovo of whom 75 per cent Serbs and 11 per cent Roma  

Source: UNHCR: December 2007 

Many Roma from Kosovo have not been able to register as IDPs due to a lack of documents. Their number could thus be much higher. The UNHCR together with the NGO Praxis have estimated the number of Roma IDPs in Serbia to up to 40,000 people.

Source: UNHCR/Praxis, March 2007 

Protection regime

“There are around 104,000 refugees and 208,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Serbia. Some 2,400 refugees and 5,500 IDPs are still accommodated in 72 collective centres and 89 specialised institutions. There are also IDPs in unofficial and illegal centres, where conditions are very poor. The difficult socio-economic situation of IDPs, and of refugees in general, continues to have an impact on the overall political situation. The obsolete legislation on refugees has not been revised. Access to documentation, health and education remain particularly difficult for vulnerable IDP groups, such as Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians.” 

Source: European Commission: Serbia 2007 Progress Report 

“Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)

According to official figures of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), approximately 207,000 IDPs resided in Serbia, mainly Serbs, Roma, and Bosniaks who left Kosovo as a result of the events of 1999. Approximately 6,700 IDPs remained in collective centers. Although the government closed several of the collective centers that were least habitable, many IDPs remained in minimally habitable facilities that were constructed as temporary accommodations, rather than for long-term occupancy.

The government continued to pay salaries to IDPs who were in the Kosovar government and state-owned enterprises before June 1999. By law, to obtain permanent resident status in Serbia, IDPs from Kosovo must deregister from their previous address in Kosovo. Without registering at a permanent address in Serbia, IDPs were unable to acquire local identification documents and are thus unable to obtain access to health insurance, social welfare, and public schools.

During the year the government signed and parliament ratified 15 bilateral readmission agreements to accept the return of failed asylum seekers, unsuccessful migrants, and persons without legal residency (primarily, Roma). Estimates of the number of unsuccessful asylum seekers and illegal immigrants from Serbia residing in the countries covered under the agreements ranged from 30,000 to 200,000, with an additional 120,000 asylum seekers originally from Kosovo. The government agreed to accept the forced returnees without stipulating a timetable for their return. The ICRC, piloting a project to assist repatriated returnees, opened an office in the Belgrade airport, but the office closed after about three months due to lack of funding.

The UNHCR estimated that there were 40,000 to 45,000 displaced Roma living in Serbia proper; half of those were not registered due to lack of documents. Many Kosovar Roma were perceived to be Serb collaborators during the conflict in Kosovo and could not safely return there. Living conditions for Roma in Serbia were extremely poor. Local municipalities often were reluctant to accommodate them, hoping that, if they failed to provide shelter, the Roma would leave the community (see section 5). If Roma did settle, it was often in official collective centers with minimum amenities or, more often, in makeshift camps in or near major cities or towns.

There were sporadic incidents of attacks and vandalism against IDPs, particularly members of Romani communities …” 

Source: U.S. Department of State: Serbia (includes Kosovo) Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2006, Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor March 6, 2007

Kosovo

Figures

21,000 IDPs

Source: UNHCR Global Appeal: Serbia 2008 – 2009 

Protection regime

“There are more than 250,000 refugees and internally displaced persons who are expected to return to their homes in Kosovo. Municipal community safety councils, local public safety councils, as well as communities and mediation committees, have been established in all municipalities. A strategy for the repatriation of asylum seekers rejected by western European countries was adopted in May 2007.

However, very few people returned voluntarily to Kosovo. As there is no status settlement for Kosovo, many refugees and internally displaced persons are reluctant to return there. The human resources of the Ministry for Return and Communities and its overall capacity and budget are insufficient to proceed with the implementation of documented return projects. The ministry’s mandate requires clarification, as the municipal teams dealing with return are reporting only to the ministry of local government administration. The municipal teams are not properly equipped to implement the return policies.

Kosovo has no database to implement and monitor the return process. No official relations exist between with the ministry for return and the Belgrade-supported Co-ordination Centre for Kosovo, thus hampering the return process. 

Internally-displaced persons from all communities face housing problems due to insufficient budgetary allocations. They also encounter problems in being registered in the civil records. Regarding returns policy, the structures set out in the revised manual of sustainable returns are not operational, making it difficult to carry out orientation and information visits.

Kosovo still lacks both a reintegration strategy and a budget to deal with the asylum seekers rejected by western European countries. Overall, almost no progress was made. The return process remains a major challenge ahead, politically, institutionally and also financially.” 

Source: European Commission: Kosovo under UNSCR 1244 – 2007 Progress report 

“Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)

According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), some 207,000 persons from Kosovo remained displaced in Serbia and 16,500 in Montenegro as a consequence of the 1999 conflict. Of the 4,100 persons displaced by the March 2004 riots, some 1,300 remained displaced. There were 19,500 persons displaced within Kosovo, almost half of whom were Kosovo Albanians.

Few IDPs returned during the year due to uncertainty over Kosovo’s future political status, lack of employment opportunities, security concerns, and property disputes. While some international agencies, NGOs, and the PISG continued to organize small-scale return projects, observers criticized the newly created PISG Ministry of Communities and Returns for internal irregularities and delay in the disbursement of PISG funding for return projects.

Amidst these criticisms and investigations, returns minister Slavisa Petkovic resigned shortly before year’s end. Aside from successes in Klina/Kline and Istok/Istog, municipalities hired staff and devised municipal return strategies with minimal results. On August 3, Pec/Peja municipality decided not to reconstruct any homes in its territory without a statement from the displaced homeowner indicating readiness and intention to return.

On June 6, the governments of Kosovo and Serbia signed a protocol for cooperation in returning displaced people to Kosovo, including to places other than their primary residence. Discussions on implementation of this agreement continued at year’s end.

At the end of December, UNHCR reported that 1,608 members of minority communities returned to Kosovo during the year, including Kosovo Albanians who returned to areas where they are a minority. Overall minority returns since 2000 stood at 16,117 at year’s end. A slightly smaller number of Kosovo Serbs returned compared to 2005, when more Roma, Ashkali, Egyptians, and Goranis returned.

Kosovo Serbs comprised approximately 31 percent of returnees during the year, compared with 35 percent in 2005. Roma (including Ashkali and Egyptians) continued to return in slightly greater numbers, comprising 54 percent of the overall number of returns. In Mitrovica, Kosovo Serbs in the north of the city and Kosovo Albanians in the south continued to illegally occupy each others’ properties, hindering potential returns.

By year’s end, the PISG had reconstructed over 97 percent of the homes damaged or destroyed in the March 2004 riots. On December 15, for example, repairs and reconstruction were completed in Svinjare. However, a number of the individuals displaced by the riots still did not return due to both a real and perceived lack of security, unemployment, and residents’ complaints about the quality of reconstruction. The prospect for returns varied according to region and ethnic group.

Camp Osterode, a relocation facility in northern Kosovo designed to eventually accommodate approximately 531 Roma, Ashkali, and Egyptian IDPs, opened in March, and 114 households comprising 454 persons moved there from lead-polluted camps during the year. Forty-one households with 172 individuals remained at the polluted Cesmin Lug camp, refusing to move. All persons from Kablar Barracks and Zitkovac camps moved to Osterode, and all existing structures at those two camps were demolished to prevent movement back to lead-polluted areas. On August 30, the World Health Organization (WHO) began treating relocated Roma, Ashkali, and Egyptian children for lead poisoning at the camp.

In 2005, UNMIK also began a concurrent donor funding campaign to rebuild the original Romani settlement in southern Mitrovica, destroyed in 1999 by Kosovo Albanians. In February, the European Roma Rights Center filed a petition with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg alleging UNMIK violations of Roma rights and requesting immediate action to remove the Roma from the lead-contaminated camps and provide medical treatment. The ECHR subsequently rejected the petition.

Limited funding slowed the return project, but reconstruction of the neighborhood began in May. By year’s end, two 12-unit apartment buildings were completed and construction had begun on two more. Another 36 houses (54 housing units) were also nearly complete. The committee for selecting future occupants of the 48 apartments received 93 applications; 31 from Serbia, 27 from Camp Osterode, 18 from Leposaviq/Leposavic municipality, 13 from Montenegro, two from Camp Cesmin Lug, and two from private locations in Mitrovica. The committee selected the occupants. At year’s end, the 48 chosen heads of household were waiting to sign a 99-year lease, which was in the process of revision and approval by the UNMIK legal adviser’s office.”

Source: U.S. Department of State: Serbia (includes Kosovo) Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2006, Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor March 6, 2007

Documents

Protocol on voluntary and sustainable returns signed between Serbia, the PISG, and UNMIK

protocol-on-returns-eng.pdf

Refugee returns to Kosovo

Figures

From January to April, 853 people were involuntarily repatriated to Kosovo, with the largest number of deportees coming from Germany (208 people). The figure has decreased compared to the same period last year, when there were 961 involuntary repatriations. A total of 3,125 individuals were repatriated to Kosovo in 2007, compared to 3,598 in 2006.

Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo, 15 July 2008

16,600 so-called minority returns have taken place since the end of the Kosovo conflict.

This figure includes 7,288 Serbs, 4,428 Ashkali and Egyptians, 2,113 Roma, 1,447 Bosniaks and 708 Gorani. This is only 6.76 percent of 245,353 displaced persons overall.

The number of returns was highest in 2003, when 3,556 people returned to Kosovo, but decreased sharply after the violence against Serbs and Roma in March 2004.

In 2006, only 1,622 minority returns were recorded, the lowest figure since 2001.

By 31 June 2007, 1,018 individuals had returned to Kosovo out of which 37.9 per cent Kosovo Serbs and 29.5 per cent Roma.

Sources: Report of the Secretary General of the United Nations Interim Mission in Kosovo, 28 September 2007; UNHCR: June 2007; Ombudsperson, 11 July 2007, quoted according to IDMC: Serbia – Final status for Kosovo, 10 December 2007, Ombudsperson Institution in Kosovo: Seventh Annual Report 2006 – 2007

As of March 2007, more than 47,000 people had been forcibly returned to Kosovo and 90,000 more could be subject to deportation back to Kosovo.

Sources: Amnesty International, May 2007; Security Council: 9 March 2007, quoted according to IDMC: Serbia – Final status for Kosovo, 10 December 2007

“The PISG promulgated updated returns policies on 24 May [2006], which was followed by the signing of protocol of cooperation on returns between Pristina and Belgrade on 6 June, and subsequent revision of the Manual for Sustainable Return. The three documents, which came out in quick succession in a short span of about six weeks, have significantly altered the returns landscape in Kosovo, leading to the recognition of IDPs right to free and informed choice of residence, along with greater financial assistance to support that choice.

Updated PISG Policies on Voluntary Returns affirm the right of IDPs to freely choose where to live and to receive assistance in that regard. Process for returning has been simplified with IDPs taking a central role throughout and removing extraneous structures that are outdated. IDP concerns regarding an expansion of assistance were addressed leading to more than 70 families immediately agreeing to return to Srpski Babush as a direct result of the new policies.

Returns Protocol between Pristina and Belgrade recognizes the IDP’s right to choose where to live. It also paves the way for direct dialogue between municipalities of displacement and return, and PISG guarantees that returnees will have full rights.

The revised Manual for Sustainable Return seeks to simplify the steps for return and delivery of social services for the returnees, while reaffirming international standards and best practices. The Manual specifies that the returns will be rights-based and sustainable, preferably to the place of origin. However, the revised criteria for individual return allows for greater choices for IDPs, who cannot return to their place of origin. It advocates a bottom-up, IDP-driven returns process, engaging the entire community with the participation of displaced and IDP associations, including IDP men and women of all age groups.

Source: UNMIK: Kosovo in October 2006

http://www.euinkosovo.org/upload/Fact%20Sheet%20October%202006.pdf

Relevant documents

Sarajevo Declaration on Refugee Returns, 20 January 2005

UNMIK Position on Forced Returns

unmik-position-on-forced-returns.pdf

UNMIK: Revised Manual on Returns

http://www.unmikonline.org/srsg/orc/documents/Manual_ENG.pdf

Protocol on Returns
 

http://www.unmikonline.org/pio/returns/Protocol-on-returns-eng.pdf  (in English)
http://www.unmikonline.org/pio/returns/Protocol-on-returns-alb.pdf (in Albanian)
http://www.unmikonline.org/pio/returns/Protocol-on-returns-ser.pdf (in Serbian)
 

Links

Kosovo Ministry for Communities and Return:

http://www.ks-gov.net/mkk/index-e.htm

 *******

Regional agreements

Sarajevo Declaration on Refugee Returns, 20 January 2005

 *******

PACE Recommendations

Southeast Europe

Resolution 1587 (2007): Situation of children living in post-conflict zones in the Balkans, 23 November 2007

Recommendation 1561 (2002): Social measures for children of war in South-eastern Europe, 29 May 2002

Kosovo

Recommendation 1708 (2005): Current situation in Kosovo, 21 June 2005

Resolution 1375 (2004): Situation in Kosovo, 29 April 2004

Recommendation 1508 (2001): Situation in Kosovo and the neighbouring regions, 25 April 2001

Asylum

Recommendation 1547 (2002): Expulsion procedures in conformity with human rights and enforced with respect for safety and dignity, 22 January 2002

Recommendation 1504 (2001): Non-expulsion of long-term immigrants, 14 March 2001

Recommendation 1348 (1997) on the temporary protection of persons forced to flee their country, 7 November 1997

Refugees and IDPs former Yugoslavia

Recommendation 1802 (2007): Situation of longstanding refugees and displaced persons in South-Eastern Europe, 27 June 2007

Recommendation 1569 (2002): Situation of refugees and internally displaced persons in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, 27 June 2002

Recommendation 1510 (2001): Humanitarian situation of returnees to Kosovo, 25 April 2001

Recommendation 1588 (2003): Population displacement in South-eastern Europe: trends, problems, solutions, 27 January 2003

Recommendation 1569 (2002): Situation of refugees and internally displaced persons in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, 27 June 2002

Recommendation 1424 (1999): Evaluation of the humanitarian situation in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, particularly in Kosovo and Montenegro, 22 and 23 September 1999

Roma refugees

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, 25 November 2003

Roma (general)

Recommendation 1557 (2002): The legal situation of Roma in Europe, 25 April 2002

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