Displaced should be offered chance to return to Kosovo

The internally displaced people (IDPs) from Kosovo should be offered a chance to return to their homes, although a majority of them who have had the status for the past 15 years now want to stay in central Serbia, officials stated at the gathering organised by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation on Friday.

(kosovocompromisestuff) Sunday, July 20, 2014

According to the UNHCR data from 2011, the status of a large number of IDPs from KiM has not been resolved and among them, the Roma are living in the most difficult conditions.Representative of the UNHCR Service for Legal Protection and Lasting Solutions Davor Rako noted that the data from 2011 show Serbia was at the time a home to 97,286 IDPs who are in the state of need, which means that they have not achieved a lasting solution.Addressing the gathering on the position of IDPs in Serbia and the Serb community in Kosovo and the perspectives for its improvement, Rako said that according to UNHCR assessments, Serbia is a home to around 90,000 IDPs in the state of need.Rako quoted the 2011 data which show that 49 percent of the IDPs in the state of need own property which had been usurped or has not been returned, 39 percent of them are unemployed, while 20.9 percent of the non-Roma IDPs still want to return to the places they lived in prior to displacement. The data show that 94 percent of those who want to return to their homes in KiM expect assistance in the search for a solution to their housing issues.We aim to create the conditions for IDPs to achieve lasting solutions to their problems and be able to return to their homes or get integrated in their current place of residence, as we are willing to provide help to the Serbian government in the process of integration and return to Kosovo, Rako said.Reporter Idro Seferi from KiM said not all Serb IDPs want to return to Kosovo, but it is important to provide a chance for everyone to return to their homes if they still wish to do so.It is important to provide a chance for IDPs to return to their former place of residence, Seferi said and added that the situation in Kosovo is such that there is a form of freedom of movement which is still not sufficient for a normal life.Political analyst Dusan Janjic believes that the conditions for obtaining the IDP status and the status duration have to be clearly defined, which is why it would be useful is such individuals were provided with social cards.Janjic underscored that the policy of sustainable stay in KiM needs to be maintained and that Serbia has to prepare an updated strategy for IDPs and draft a migration management strategy.