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UNDP report focuses on Roma and other so-called vulnerable groups including refugees and IDPs in Southeast Europe.

June 2006


More should be done to address the plight of Kosovo Roma refugees in Macedonia, Human Rights Watch said in a briefing paper. The Macedonian government, its Western counterparts, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) should redouble efforts to ensure them dignified living conditions.

The briefing paper, “Out of Limbo? Adressing the Plight of Kosovo Roma Refugees in Macedonia,” describes the dismal conditions that Kosovo Roma refugees face in Macedonia. Human Rights Watch urges the Macedonian government to make stronger efforts to improve their status in the country, and calls on Western governments and the UNHCR to seriously consider resettlement for those refugees who are in a particularly difficult situation.  
“These refugees are in a cruel limbo,” said Rachel Denber, acting executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Europe and Central Asia Division. “Most of them clearly can’t return to Kosovo while their prospects for integration in Macedonia remain dim. It’s high time that the Macedonian government and its Western European counterparts end this untenable situation.”  
Macedonia is currently hosting some 2,500 Roma refugees displaced from Kosovo as a result of the 1999 war. In May, Macedonian authorities and UNHCR closed Shuto Orizari, the largest camp hosting Roma refugees, due to unacceptable health and sanitary conditions. To draw attention to their desperate situation, the 700 Roma who had lived in the camp then occupied an area in the immediate vicinity of the Macedonian-Greek border, near the village of Medzitlija.  
On August 9, exhausted and frustrated by the lack of visible achievements after 80 days of protest, the Roma refugees abandoned Medzitlija for several other locations within Macedonia.  
“While the Medzitlija crisis has passed, a viable long-term solution for the Kosovo Roma refugees in Macedonia continues to elude the Macedonian government and relevant international actors,” said Denber.  
The Human Rights Watch briefing paper argues that conditions are inappropriate for the return of most Kosovo Roma, because their property in Kosovo was destroyed when they were expelled and their security cannot be guaranteed there.  
Relocation to other parts of Serbia and Montenegro is also not an option, because the Kosovo Roma already displaced to these areas face undue hardship in meeting what UNHCR terms as their basic social, cultural and economic needs. The Serbia and Montenegro government itself acknowledges that living conditions for displaced Roma in Serbia are “extremely poor.”  
For the time being, the only two practical options for the refugees appear to be resettlement to third countries or integration in Macedonia. But the latter option is feasible only if the Macedonian government and relevant international agencies significantly improve the legal, economic and social situation of the affected Roma.  
Most of the Kosovo Roma refugees favor resettlement in third countries, but EU member states appear to be unwilling to accept them.  
“Resettlement should not be excluded when countries of refuge are coping with a protracted refugee crisis of this kind,” said Denber. “For more than four years now, the Macedonian government has failed to provide these refugees with a sustainable existence, making the prospect of integration ring hollow.”  
Human Rights Watch argues that third countries with resettlement policies, working with the UNHCR, should give serious consideration to accepting those individuals whose prospects for safe voluntary return to Kosovo and integration in Macedonia are particularly dim.  
At the same time, and as long as conditions for safe return to Kosovo are not in place, the Macedonian government, with the assistance of international institutions, should strengthen efforts to recognize the status of Roma refugees, and enable them to fully enjoy their rights under the Refugee Convention as well as other human rights treaties.  
10 December 2003

The report is available at: (in English) (in Macedonian)

Percepcije o konfliktu, pristupu pravosuđu i mogućnostima za postizanje mira na KosovuKosovo je na raskršču. Glavni vodioci sukoba, ukljičujuči i fundamentalnu odluku o njenom statusu budučnosti, treba da bude adresirano u smeru da pokrene Kosovo ka perspektivoj i stabilnoj budučnosti. Ovaj izveštaj je baziran na meteodolgiju analize1 učestalih sukoba isto tako je i kilminacija istraživanja, saveta i sugestija od organizaja civilnog društva širom Kosova.

Gleda u potecnijalne vodioce sukoba i šansi za mir u pet glavnih kategorija: buduči status Kosova; siguenost i pravosudje; politika i uprava, socijalno i kulturni; i ekonomsko i sredstva za život.

Istraživanje, koje se razvilo tokom Septembra i Oktobra 2007 od Saferworld-a, Forumi për Iniciativa Qytetare (FIQ) i osam ostalih MNO (NGOs)2, angažovani učesnici iz glavnih Kosovskih zajednica, is sektora medjunarodnih nevladinih organizacija i službenici iz sektora za sigurnost i zakon (pravosudje) u radionici, focus grupe i intervjui. Kao reflekcija može se zapažiti da službenici Javnog sketora Kosova, kao i sektora sigurnosti i zakona radoje predstavljaju njihova mišljenja negoli njihovi autori ili fonderi. Veči deo procesa bio je popračen I sa predstavnicima od Kosovske Policijkske Službe (KPS) i od Ministarstva  nutrašnjoh Poslova, privremenih Institucija Samo-upralvljanja (PISG).

Decembar 2007

Kompletan izvjestaj se nalazi na:

The IDP Working Group, jointly organized by UNHCR, OSCE and Praxis, took place on 29 March 2007 in Belgrade. The participants of the Conference were 130 representatives of government institutions, international organizations, local and international NGOs, diplomatic corps and the media. On that occasion, two reports were presented: Praxis’ report Access to Documents for IDPs in Serbia and the updated Analysis of the Situation of Internally Displaced Persons from Kosovo in Serbia: Law and Practice produced by the Inter-agency Group in October 2005. The latter has been prepared through a joint effort of UNHCR and Praxis and has been endorsed by a number of international organizations and international and local NGOs involved in IDP work on a daily basis.

The paper prepared jointly by UNHCR and Praxis gives broader overview of the IDP situation, identifies gaps in the legal system and proposes concrete solutions to alleviate everyday problems of IDPs with the aim to ensure that IDPs are guaranteed effective access to basic civil, political, social and economic rights, including documentation.  

Praxis’ report Access to Documents for IDPs in Serbia addresses the problems IDPs face in accessing their documentation, both in Serbia and in Kosovo, which is essential for the enjoyment of human and civic rights. Based on the experience of Praxis’ lawyers gained through everyday assistance provided to the displaced, the report presents major obstacles in obtaining documentation, specific issues concerning unequal practice of administrative and judicial organs, Praxis’ advocacy work and recommendations for solving the documentation issue. Its aim is to provide information on this issue to all interested parties, as well as to motivate all levels of authority to act in full compliance with their powers and obligations in order to overcome the documentation problem and make possible the fulfillment of basic human rights.

The report is available at:

In an opinion for the Committee of Migration, Refugees and Population of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, the rapporteur, Mr. Ed van Thjn expresses concerns about an increase of forced returns of Roma to Kosovo, Serbia and Montenegro in 2006.

 He notes that the situation in the region has remained tense and could deteriorate in the view of the status negotiations.

30 March 2007

The full text of the opinion is available at:

In a report prepared by Mr. Nikolaos Dendias, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly expresses concerns about the situation of longstanding refugees and IDPs.

The report insists that the governments need to give higher priority to finding a sustainable situation for the refugees and should set up adequate legal and institutional frameworks for their support.

24 May 2007

The full text of the report is available at:

A report Saferworld and the Forum for Civic Initiatives on perceptions of conflict, access to justice and opportunities for peace in Kosovo. 

This report examines issues that communities, NGOs and justice sector workers in Kosovo identify as potential drivers of conflict under the categories of governance and politics, social and cultural, economics and livelihoods, and security and justice. 

With the end of the current round of status negotiations scheduled for 10 December, the report gives recommendations that can be acted on immediately, regardless of the final status decision, to help ensure a peaceful transition to the next phase of Kosovo’s future.

From the report:

“Informal mechanisms: The dilemma for the Roma community The use of Serbian-dominated informal mechanisms for solving disputes can be particularly problematic for the Roma community living in Serb-majority areas. In most cases where there is a need to address a problem between Roma and Kosovo Serbian communities, the Bridge Watchers may intervene. However, according to focus group participants on many occasions the resolution of the problem may not be in the best interests of the Roma community because the Bridge Watchers are keener to protect the interests of the Kosovo Serbian community. They would therefore not be the first choice of non-formal mechanism from the perspective of the Roma community. To avoid additional problems, the Roma community is reluctant to report these kinds of “conflict mitigation cases” to the KPS, since the KPS is mostly staffed with Kosovo Serbian officers and perceived to work, unofficially, in collaboration with the Bridge Watchers.”   

The report is available at:  (in English) (in Albanian) (in Serbian)