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PACE: Recommendation 1569 (2002) on FRY refugees and DP's

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  • Martin Demirovski by way of Panayote Di
    Subject: Recommendation 1569 (2002) Recommendation 1569 (2002)
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 27, 2002
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      Subject: Recommendation 1569 (2002)

      Recommendation 1569 (2002)
      <http://assembly.coe.int/Main.asp?link=http%3A%2F%2Fassembly.coe.int%2Fdocum
      ents%2Fadoptedtext%2Fta02%2Ferec1569.htm#_ftn1> 1

      Situation of refugees and internally displaced persons in the Federal
      Republic of Yugoslavia

      _____

      1. The Parliamentary Assembly refers to its Recommendation 1491
      <http://assembly.coe.int/Main.asp?link=http%3A%2F%2Fassembly.coe.int%2Fdocum
      ents%2Fadoptedtext%2FTA01%2FEREC1491.htm> (2001) on the Federal Republic of
      Yugoslavia - recent developments, and Recommendation 1510
      <http://assembly.coe.int/Main.asp?link=http%3A%2F%2Fassembly.coe.int%2Fdocum
      ents%2Fadoptedtext%2FTA01%2FEREC1510.htm> (2001) on the humanitarian
      situation of returnees to Kosovo.

      2. The Assembly, in relation to the ongoing procedure for accession of the
      Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to the Council of Europe, draws attention to
      the still unresolved question of refugees and internally displaced persons
      (IDPs) in this country.

      3. The Assembly notes with concern that there are still over half a million
      refugees and internally displaced persons in Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo.
      Some of them have been in this situation for ten years now. It is
      specifically concerned about the plight of refugee children. The majority of
      IDPs have been displaced for nearly three years.

      4. Lack of shelter, precarious living conditions particularly in
      unrecognised collective centres, and lack of income remain major concerns
      for both refugee and IDP groups throughout the country. The transfer of
      pensions and allowances between different entities encounters problems.

      5. The Assembly is aware of the overall difficult economic situation in the
      country, and in particular of the high rate of unemployment. It recognises
      the need for foreign investments and assistance to revive the national
      economy.

      6. In this context, the Assembly is concerned by the significant decrease
      and complete phasing out planned for the near future of international
      assistance to the most vulnerable groups among refugees and displaced
      persons without concrete projects to replace it by international development
      aid. Such a withdrawal may produce dramatic consequences for some categories
      of refugees and displaced populations.

      7. The Assembly is aware of the ongoing political process to determine the
      future status and the relations between the different entities of the
      present Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Regrettably, the uncertainty
      concerning the final outcome of this process has in some respects had a
      negative impact on the situation of the refugees and IDPs and on any action
      undertaken to accomplish durable solutions.

      8. The Assembly expresses its concern regarding the lack of harmonisation of
      policies in respect of refugees and IDPs as well as insufficient
      co-operation in this field between the authorities of entities of the
      Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

      9. On the other hand, the Assembly notes with satisfaction the progress in
      co-operation between the authorities of the three entities and the
      governments of other countries of the region, as well as with the
      international community as a whole in respect of refugees and IDPs.
      Regrettably, the uncertainty over the future political status of the country
      seriously impedes more active involvement of the international development
      agencies.

      10. The Assembly notes with satisfaction the elaboration, by the Serbian
      authorities in co-operation with international organisations, of the
      National Strategy for Resolving the Problems of Refugees, Expellees and
      Displaced Persons. It is designed to be implemented through institutional
      and legislative reform as well as concrete projects and co-operation with
      relevant international organisations and states in the region.

      11. While recognising the consistently humane and generous attitude of the
      Montenegrin authorities who have never prevented IDPs and refugees from
      entering the territory of Montenegro, or carried out forced returns, the
      Assembly notes with concern that no long-term strategy has been elaborated
      in Montenegro and no durable solutions are being considered by the
      Montenegrin authorities.

      12. While fully aware of a complex economic and political situation combined
      with the burden of the influx of IDPs, the Assembly expresses its firm
      conviction that humanitarian questions cannot be outweighed by political
      considerations. Therefore the Assembly expresses its concern at the passive
      attitude of the Montenegrin authorities and their reluctance to face up to
      the problem. In particular, the Assembly is deeply concerned by the newly
      adopted law on citizenship which prevents refugees and IDPs from obtaining
      citizenship of the republic.

      13. The Assembly welcomes the positive attitude of the Kosovo authorities,
      the good co-operation with the United Nations Interim Administration in
      Kosovo (Unmik), and the repeated declarations of the Provisional Government
      of Kosovo on a readiness to accept the return of all minorities. Although
      the security situation still does not allow for massive minority returns to
      Kosovo, all necessary measures should be undertaken and efforts continued to
      make such returns possible.

      14. The Assembly shares the conviction expressed by Unmik and the United
      Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) that all repatriation to Kosovo
      programmes, in particular those involving so-called minority returns should
      be designed as co-ordinated, phased and orderly movements. This is
      particularly true for most vulnerable groups of IDPs, in particular Roma,
      Ashkali and Egyptian refugees.

      15. Therefore, the Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers:

      i. urge the member states of the Council of Europe:

      a. to encourage economic involvement and investments in the Federal Republic
      of Yugoslavia;

      b. to ensure the continuation and development of a comprehensive economic
      strategy in the framework of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe;

      c. to contribute generously to the financing of projects in the framework of
      the Serbian National Strategy and in particular to make special arrangements
      for children;

      d. to respond in a positive way to possible future projects relating to
      refugees and IDPs elaborated by the Montenegrin authorities;

      e. to continue providing humanitarian assistance to refugees and IDPs in the
      Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and to ensure that it will not be phased out
      before it is replaced by development assistance;

      f. to abstain from announced massive forced deportations of rejected asylum
      seekers to so-called minority areas, and to carefully consider every case on
      an individual basis;

      g. to recognise that, for asylum applicants originating from Kosovo,
      internal displacement in Serbia and Montenegro does not offer an acceptable
      relocation alternative;

      ii. urge the Serb authorities:

      a. to remove obstacles preventing Roma from Kosovo who have refugee status
      in "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" from obtaining documents
      which would allow them to return to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia;

      b. to increase the involvement of relevant non-governmental organisations in
      the elaboration of concrete projects in the framework of the National
      Strategy;

      c. to consult systematically representatives of refugees and IDPs and
      involve them in any governmental activities regarding them;

      d. to review and amend all administrative practices which complicate the
      work of humanitarian international and local agencies (lengthy procedures
      for registration, visa requirements, cumbersome procedures for import of
      humanitarian goods, taxation, etc.);

      e. to provide refugees and IDPs with comprehensive and clear information on
      their rights and their choice between return and integration;

      f. to ensure that pensions and allowances are transferred to IDPs in
      Montenegro and Kosovo;

      g. to improve co operation with Montenegrin and Kosovo authorities in
      respect of refugee and IDP policies;

      h. to continue co-operation with the authorities of Croatia and Bosnia and
      Herzegovina with a view to finding satisfactory solutions in the fields of
      housing, social protection and employment as regards those refugees who wish
      to return;

      i. to introduce legislation to implement the 1951 Geneva Convention and set
      up a status-determination procedure;

      iii. urge the Montenegrin authorities:

      a. to elaborate a national strategy designed to find long-term solutions to
      the refugee and IDP problem;

      b. to elaborate concrete projects for refugees and IDPs and to actively seek
      international funding for them;

      c. to involve relevant non-governmental organisations in the elaboration of
      projects;

      d. to consult systematically representatives of refugees and IDPs and
      involve them in any governmental activities regarding them;

      e. not to prevent those refugees and IDPs who wish to integrate in
      Montenegro from doing so, and to take measures which would facilitate this
      process;

      f. to review and amend the law on citizenship with a view to changing the
      provisions jeopardising the rights of refugees and IDPs;

      g. to co-operate with the Serb and Kosovo authorities with a view to
      co-ordinating refugee and IDP policies;

      h. to introduce legislation to implement the 1951 Geneva Convention and set
      up a status determination procedure;

      iv. urge the Kosovo authorities:

      a. to continue their co-operation with the international community in order
      to keep up the process of minority returns to Kosovo;

      b. to regard the development of an environment for a safe and voluntary
      minority return as one of the most urgent priorities;

      c. to set the context for a constructive, participative inter-ethnic
      dialogue, and in particular to ensure non-discriminatory access of
      minorities to employment, social services and education;

      d. to improve co-operation with the Serb and Montenegrin authorities in
      respect of refugee and IDP policies;

      v. urge Unmik to review and reconsider certain regulations and
      administrative practices which may have a negative impact on returns, in
      particular Regulation 2001/17 and the rule that assisted returns may be made
      only to the places that the IDPs had fled from and not to any other place
      within Kosovo.

      16. The Assembly recommends that the Council of Europe Commissioner for
      Human Rights visit the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Kosovo with a
      fact-finding mission with the aim of examining the human rights and refugee
      situation in Kosovo on the whole and elaborating appropriate
      recommendations.

      17. The Assembly further recommends that the Committee of Ministers:

      a. ensure the continuation of the strong involvement and commitment of the
      Council of Europe in the process of the democratic reconstruction of a
      multi-ethnic society and for confidence building in the Federal Republic of
      Yugoslavia;

      b. strengthen its concrete reconciliation programmes in particular in the
      field of culture and education;

      c. promote the long-term solutions with regard to refugees and IDPs in the
      Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and encourage the co-operation between its
      different entities and the countries in the region;

      d. call on the Council of Europe Development Bank to step up its
      co-operation with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and in particular to
      react positively to possible future projects presented by the Montenegrin
      authorities regarding refugees and IDPs;

      e. invite the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe to step
      up its programme for the twinning of municipalities in the regions which are
      hosting IDPs and refugees with municipalities in other Council of Europe
      member states.

      __________


      <http://assembly.coe.int/Main.asp?link=http%3A%2F%2Fassembly.coe.int%2Fdocum
      ents%2Fadoptedtext%2Fta02%2Ferec1569.htm#_ftnref1> 1. Assembly debate on 27
      June 2002 (23rd Sitting) (see Doc. 9479
      <http://assembly.coe.int/Main.asp?link=http%3A%2F%2Fassembly.coe.int%2Fdocum
      ents%2FDocuments%2FWorkingDocs%2Fdoc02%2FEDOC9479.htm> , report of the
      Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography, rapporteur: Mr Cilevi├Ęs).

      Text adopted by the Assembly on 27 June 2002 (23rdSitting)
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