UN Inter-Agency Update on Kosovo Situation Report 69

Report
from UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Published on 28 Oct 1998
This report has been compiled by UNHCR with support from OCHA and with inputs from UN Agencies and other humanitarian organisations in former Yugoslavia and Albania
KOSOVO

UN Security Council Resolution 1203 ( 1998 )

1. Acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which allows for enforcement, the United Nations Security Council on 24th October endorsed and supported the agreements signed in Belgrade on 16 October by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and on the following day by FRY and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The Russian Federation and China abstained on the text, which was adopted with 13 votes in favour as Resolution 1203 (1998).

2. The Security Council demanded that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia comply fully and swiftly with its resolutions on Kosovo, and cooperate fully with the OSCE Verification Mission and with the NATO Air Verification Mission in accordance with agreements reached. The Council also demanded that the Kosovo Albanian leadership and all other elements of the Kosovo Albanian community comply fully and swiftly with its resolutions and cooperate with the OSCE Verification Mission.

3. With respect to humanitarian issues, the Security Council demanded immediate action from the Belgrade authorities and the Kosovo Albanian leadership to cooperate with international efforts to improve the humanitarian situation and to avert the impending humanitarian catastrophe. The Council also called on the FRY Government and the Kosovo Albanian leadership to take all steps to ensure that international and humanitarian personnel are not subjected to the threat or use of force. Reaffirming the right of all refugees and displaced persons to return to their homes in safety, the Council underlined the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia's responsibility in creating the necessary conditions towards that end. The Council also urged Member States and others concerned to provide adequate resources for humanitarian assistance in the region and to respond promptly and generously to the UN Inter-Agency Consolidated Appeal for Humanitarian Assistance Related to the Kosovo Crisis.

Compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 1199

4. On 27 October the Kosovo Diplomatic Observer Mission (KDOM) reported that approximately 4,500 Serbian police had left Kosovo during the course of the previous day. KDOM Team Orahovac reported that Serbian security forces had withdrawn from the area between Orahovac and Malisevo and reduced their presence almost to February 1999 levels. KDOM Team Prizren noticed a "massive pulll-out" of police and military forces from the area between Prizren and Pristina. KDOM in Mitrovica reported a similar large-scale reduction in police and military presence in their area of operations.

Returns

5. There are clear indications that the retreat of the Serbian security forces has encouraged many displaced to return to their areas of origin. However, at the time of writing the international humanitarian community has not yet had the opportunity to verify with any accuracy the true extent of return since the reduction of the police presence in Kosovo. The plight of the estimated 3,500 displaced living rough in the hills at Kisna Reka has attracted a high level of publicity. In a recent meeting with Mr Andjelkovic, Prime Minister of Kosovo's Temporary Executive Committee, UNHCR was informed that the displaced would be able to return to their villages in the Komorane area after the withdrawal of the police from the area. There have also been reports that the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) has been moving into areas vacated by the security forces in the Drenica area.

6. UN agencies and NGOs in Kosovo are planning an interagency survey on a municipality by municipality basis over the next few weeks in an attempt to gather more reliable information on the number of displaced, conflict-affected families and returns in each region.

Security of Humanitarian Personnel

7. Threats to the security of humanitarian personnel working in Kosovo remain. On 23 October KLA soldiers in uniform started shooting at a relief convoy on the outskirts of Jablanica. They immediately stopped when they realised that they were firing at a UNHCR vehicle. On 27 October a UNHCR team travelling near Malisevo noted that a vacated police station appeared to be booby-trapped.

Relief Distribution

8. On 21 October relief deliveries were made to an estimated 17,000 beneficiaries in 3 different locations: Velika Krusha in Orahovac municipality, Kladernica in Srbica municipality and Gornji Streoc in Pec municipality. The three convoys delivered mattresses, wheat flour, stoves and clothes.

9. On 22 October multi-agency convoys escorted by UNHCR delivered relief supplies to Djakovica and Pec. The humanitarian aid, which consists of high protein biscuits, family food parcels, wheat flour, mattresses, stoves and hygienic items, will meet the needs of 47,000 beneficiaries. The 16 trucks carried items from WFP, Mercy Corps International, Children Aid Direct, Catholic Relief Service.

10. On 23 October relief convoys delivered humanitarian aid to three different parts of Kosovo. One five truck convoy successfully delivered food and non-food items to an estimated 3,000 beneficiaries in Jablanica, ten kilometres Southwest of Klina despite coming under fire from armed elements on the outskirts of Jablanica. A second convoy provided four truckloads of humanitarian assistance provided by UNHCR, Catholic Relief Services and Mercy Corps International to an estimated 3,000 beneficiaries in Dobrudeljane, seven kilometres West of Suva Reka. The third convoy went to
the villages of Sverka and Volujak, both of which are approximately seven kilometres Southeast of Klina. The four trucks containing wheat flour, oil, mattresses, clothes, hygienic material were targeted to meet the needs of 7,000 beneficiaries. The relief supplies were provided by UNHCR, Mercy Corps International, Catholic Relief Services.

11. On 24 October multi-agency convoys escorted by UNHCR delivered relief aid in Orahovac and Prizren. The 13 trucks carried wheat flour, high protein biscuits, family food parcels, shoes, blankets, mattresses, stoves and detergent. The supplies donated by WFP, Mercy Corps International, Catholic Relief Service and Children Aid Direct will meet the humanitarian needs of 51,000 beneficiaries. In addition to the two scheduled convoys, a truck of basic commodities was also sent to a location near the village of Reskin, 20 kilometres East of Pec, where a group of 80 people living in the woods in extremely difficult conditions was found by UNHCR the previous day. The relief items were provided by Mercy Corps International and WFP.

12. On 26 October UNHCR led convoys to Belonica in Malisevo and Dobrosevac in Glogovac to deliver aid to 7,500 displaced. The nine trucks carried supplies from WFP, Mercy Corps International and Danish Church Aid. The items included wheat flour, milk powder, margarine, marmalade, oil, salt, sugar, biscuits, jackets, blankets, mattresses, used clothes, stoves and soap. The United States airlifted 6,000 blankets and health kits to Pristina for IDPs in Kosovo from Pisa, Italy.

13. On 27 October UNHCR led convoys that delivered relief aid for 36,000 people at Sedlar in Lipljan and Mitrovica town and its village of Rasane. The 18 trucks carried wheat flour, milk powder, oil, sugar, margarine, salt and rice. There were also used clothes, mattresses, stoves, and jerry cans. The items came from Mercy Corps International, Children's Aid Direct, Catholic Relief Services, WFP and USAID.

UNHCR Estimated Kosovo Displacement / Refugee Figures:
(as at 13 October 1998)

Kosovo1
200,000
Montenegro2
42,000
Other parts of Serbia
20,000
Bosnia Herzegovina3
8,600
Albania4
20,500
Turkey5
2,000
Slovenia6
2,000
FYROM7
3,000
TOTAL
298,100

1 Estimated figure based on information from various organisations in Kosovo.
2 Average based on figures provided by the Montenegrin Ministry of Interior and the Montenegrin Red Cross.
3 UNHCR estimate.
4 Figures provided by Albanian Government's Office for Refugees and endorsed by UNHCR..
5 UNHCR estimate.
6 UNHCR estimate.
7 Estimate of those whose presence is directly linked to the conflict in Kosovo.

Human Rights

14. The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has finalised a Status Agreement with the FRY Government. The Agreement provides for standard privileges and immunities as well as full freedom of movement and access throughout the country for human rights related activities and confirms OHCHR's status as the sole international organisation with a broad mandate for human rights protection and promotion throughout FRY. OHCHR plans to strengthen its activities in Kosovo through the deployment of additional human rights officers.

Health

15. The UNICEF office in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia has received a US$ 500,000 loan from its internal Emergency Programme Fund. The loan will be used to enhance UNICEF's capacity to respond to the crisis in Kosovo and will hopefully be reimbursed through contributions made against the forthcoming UN Consolidated Appeal. The loan will be used to meet the needs of women and children in four different areas; the provision of winter clothing and shoes for children; the provision of immunisation supplies (including cold chain inputs, syringes and needles and measles vaccines) for approximately 150,000 children; the promotion of breast feeding and printing of guidelines on infant feeding in emergencies; and the provision of water containers and baby hygiene items. UNICEF will also strengthen its field presence through the deployment of additional international staff to its offices in Pristina and Podgorica.

MONTENEGRO

16. UN interagency assessments in Plav and Rozaje have revealed that relatively few displaced children from Kosovo are benefiting from education. According to the director of the Gusinje primary school ( near Plav ) there are currently only 60 displaced children from Kosovo in primary schools in the Gusinje area. In Rozaje municipality, which includes 28 villages, only 35 displaced are attending school in the area. During the mission UNICEF distributed winter jackets to the school children in Gusinje and Rozaje. The Danish Refugee Council is helping UNICEF to distribute school equipment to displaced children in the mountainous area near Plav and Rozaje.

ALBANIA

17. After deliberations with UNHCR, IFRC, the Albanian Red Cross (ARC) and the Ministry of Local Governments, WFP and ARC have decided to resume the October food aid distribution in Tropoje district in Northern Albania. Distributions were halted on 12 October due to poor security and concerns over the integrity of registration procedures. Kosovo refugees in Tropoje district have been re-registered to prevent those individuals who fraudulently hold ration cards from receiving food during the upcoming distribution and the Ministry of Local Government has pledged to work with the police to ensure security in the area where the distributions will take place. UNHCR, WFP and ARC believe that the estimated 2,500 Kosovo Albanians remaining in Tropoje district are among the most vulnerable of the refugee population in Albania.

18. WFP and other food supply agencies have drafted a food distribution plan for the month of November in Albania. WFP estimates that it will provide rations to 7,000 of the 21,000 refugees registered in Albania. WFP will continue to support a bakery project which provides bread on a daily basis to 5,700 refugees in the Durres area.

19. Discussions are ongoing between the UNHCR offices in Belgrade and Tirana over the development of a plan for the possible repatriation of Kosovo refugees in Albania.

FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA

20. During the visit of the British Foreign Minister, Robin Cook, on Tuesday 20 October, the FYROM Government announced its decision to support the NATO Kosovo Verification Mission and its Headquarters in Skopje.

For information, please contact:

Fernando del Mundo, UNHCR Pristina
Tel: 381-38-321-09

David Carden (OCHA), UNHCR Belgrade
Tel: 381-11-344-2091
Fax: 381-11-344-2947
E-mail: carden@unhcr.ch