the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
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A) Worldwide General Statistics
In June, as hyper-nationalist fever threatened to engulf Macedonia, the only former Yugoslav republic to have seceded from Yugoslavia without bloodshed, Refugee Reports was on the scene, encountering the first groups of ethnic Albanians uprooted from their homes into an uncertain future.
At year's end, Macedonia hosted more than 9,000 refugees in need of protection, down from 17,000 in 1999. Repatriation of ethnic Albanians to Kosovo during the year accounted for much of the decrease. Of the refugees in Macedonia at the end of 2000, 8,878 were from Kosovo, 170 from Bosnia, and 2 were from countries outside the region.
At the end of 2000, Yugoslavia hosted about 484,200 refugees, virtually all ethnic Serbs, of whom 14,400 were in Montenegro and 400 in Kosovo. Of these, the largest number of refugees were from Croatia (289,800) and Bosnia (190,000). The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported an additional 4,400 refugees from Slovenia and Macedonia residing in Yugoslavia during the year.
OVERVIEW: DISPLACEMENT OLD AND NEW
OVERVIEW: EXISTING AND NEW DISPLACEMENT
The return of displaced Kosovars is nearing completion. As of August 13, some 755,500 Kosovar refugees and internally displaced persons have repatriated. About 50,400 remain in neighboring regions, including 20,000 in Macedonia, 11,400 in Bosnia, 11,000 in Albania, and 8,000 in Montenegro. Some 36,400 Kosovars have returned by air from other countries.
The return of displaced Kosovars continues at a fast rate, although severe logistical and human difficulties remain. As of July 27, more than 90 percent of a UNHCR-estimated total of 800,000 refugees and internally displaced persons had repatriated, while some 65,000 still remained in Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro and Bosnia-Hercegovina.
Bill Frelick is Senior Policy Analyst, U.S. Committee for Refugees
This essay will appear in Refuge vol. 18, no. 3 (July 1999), Special issue on "Humanitarian Intervention in the Wake of Kosovo Crisis."
On June 3, the Serbian Parliament accepted a peace plan for Kosovo by a 136-to 74 vote. The G7 countries, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and United States, plus Russia, had agreed to the plan on May 6.
On June 8, the attorney general redesignated Kosovo for temporary protected status (TPS). The redesignation: extends the initial TPS designation (June 1998) for an additional 12 months, until June 8, 2000; allows Kosovars with TPS to re-register for the additional 12-month period; and expands TPS eligibility to Kosovars (and persons having no nationality who last resided in Kosovo) who have "continuously resided in the United States" since June 8, 1999.
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) began a controversial humanitarian air drop operation into Kosovo starting the first week in June, funded, in part, by the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID).
A $15 billion supplemental spending bill
signed by President Clinton on May 21 includes more than $500 million to
help Kosovar refugees, both overseas and in the United States.
The mid-year emergency spending package is a combination of separate measures to cover costs unforeseen when the FY 1999 appropriations were enacted primarily the Kosovo crisis and Hurricane Mitch. As with many supplemental measures, however, unrelated items were added, delaying enactment. The final package funds the NATO mission in Yugoslavia, military pay and benefits, disaster relief, and aid to farmers.
While the prospects for a rapid return of refugees to Kosovo were still slim at the end of May, evacuations from the region were taking place at a rapid pace. In the last week of May, 1,102 refugees left the region through the Humanitarian Evacuation Program (HEP) coordinated by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), bringing to nearly 73,000 the number of refugees who had departed the region.
Another week of crisis and torment for
Kosovar Albanian refugees:
The surreal pattern of refugee flight repeated itself this week. The surging thousands of refugees entering Macedonia and Albania over the weekend became--on Wednesday--a trickle. And thousands of refugees reportedly massed in the "no-man's land" on the Serbian side of the Macedonia border were gone without a trace on Thursday morning.
The swift escalation of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo and mass exodus of refugees following NATO's March 24 bombing campaign against Serbia caught the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other refugee assistance agencies unprepared and overwhelmed.
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May 14, 1999
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May 5, 1999
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April 30, 1999
Contact: Gabrielle Bushman