Bosnia and Herzegovina + 2 more

UNHCR Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Information Bulletin (excluding Kosovo) Jan 2000

Format
Situation Report
Source
Posted
Originally published


Introduction
UNHCR established its Office in Belgrade in 1976, mainly to assist refugees from eastern Europe who fled to the former Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia. UNHCR operations in Serbia and Montenegro - the two republics in the present Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) - have greatly expanded in the 1990s. The war in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia forced more than 2 million people out of their homes, of whom about two-thirds of a million have found refuge in FRY.

Today, FRY still hosts about half a million refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia. But the total number of displaced people in the country now exceeds 700,000 as non-Albanian residents of Kosovo began fleeing the southern province since mid-1999.

UNHCR offers a wide range of assistance to refugees and internally displaced people in FRY with the largest allocated budget (71 million required for year 2000) for a single UNHCR country operation in the world. From providing care and maintenance aid for refugees and internally displaced persons to assisting repatriation, local integration, third country resettlement and protecting asylum-seekers arriving from other countries, the UNHCR operation in FRY illustrates all aspects of UNHCR protection and assistance activities in a nutshell.

Internally Displaced Persons from Kosovo

Despite efforts made since mid-June 1999 by international actors in Kosovo to protect all peoples in the province, attacks on the non-Albanian population have continued. As a result, over 200,000 non-Albanians have fled Kosovo to elsewhere in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY). The vast majority of them are Serbs but those displaced from Kosovo also include Roma and others.

The majority of the internally displaced people (IDPs) from Kosovo are staying in private homes throughout Serbia and Montenegro. But as winter sets in, people are moving from one municipality to another looking for appropriate shelter. Especially in central and southern Serbia, where the impact of economic and political instability is felt more acutely, host families can barely support the displaced people as the local population already suffers unstable incomes and faulty infrastructure, including state heating facilities.

To help support those living in private homes, UNHCR has launched in December a cash-grant project to the most vulnerable persons among the displaced people from Kosovo. Up to 50,000 displaced people are expected to benefit from the one-time ECHO grant of 60 USD to help them get through winter.

Registration

The registration of humanitarian aid beneficiaries is normally the responsibility of the government authorities. However, as the internally displaced people from Kosovo constantly relocate throughout more than 150 municipalities in Serbia and Montenegro, UNHCR has recognized the need for a joint registration to obtain more accurate figures - eliminating double registration, for example - so that the assistance needs of the displaced people can be better addressed.

Together with the Montenegrin Commissioner for Displaced Persons, UNHCR began verifying in November the number of people from Kosovo staying in Montenegro. The results from Montenegro are expected shortly while the registration in Serbia will be completed by February 2000.

Double displacement: refugees in Kosovo

When conflict broke out in Kosovo in 1998, there were about 14,000 refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina or Croatia caught in the cross-fire. Many of them were sheltered in areas close to the fighting and others were found huddled in isolated villages after residents had fled the armed conflict in the area. Many refugees have managed to flee eventually yet another conflict since the Bosnian war, but there still remain about 600 refugees in the province, half of whom have requested resettlement to third countries. As a matter of priority, UNHCR is seeking solutions for these refugees who have been in Kosovo, either through voluntary repatriation or resettlement to third countries.

Roma

UNHCR’s preliminary study estimates that between 40,000 and 50,000 of the displaced people from Kosovo currently in FRY are of Roma origin. Assisting the Roma population is a particular challenge for UNHCR and other aid agencies, as local authorities are often reluctant to accept large number of Roma in their communities. In central and southern Serbia, where economic difficulties are greater in general, Roma tend to be assisted second to the already large displaced population there.

In Montenegro, displaced Roma live in large tented camps or make-shift shelter throughout the Republic. The majority of these settlements are unfit for winter and strong wind and rain in early December have destroyed more than a hundred tents in Konik, near Podgorica.

While UNHCR hopes that the current displacement from Kosovo is temporary and expects to assist eventually the displaced people’s return to Kosovo as conditions improve in the province, it is unrealistic to expect this to happen during winter. UNHCR, together with other aid agencies, continues to appeal to the local authorities in Serbia and Montenegro to set up hard shelters with proper infrastructure so that displaced people, including Roma, can survive through the harsh Balkan winter.

Refugees in FRY

Four years after the Dayton Peace Accord, there remain over half a million refugees in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) from the wars in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia. About 300,000 have fled their homes in Croatia, including some 50,000 who left Eastern Slavonia in 1997, when the UNTAES (United Nations Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia) left the region. Another 200,000 are from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

UNHCR has been engaged in a three-pronged approach to finding solutions for these refugees who remain in FRY: repatriation, local integration or resettlement. So far, UNHCR has managed to find lasting solutions for up to 100,000 refugees through one of the above programs. The political and economic instability in the region, however, continues to frustrate the repatriation and local integration process.


Registered number of refugees
(December 1999)

Country of Origin
Republic of Asylum
TOTAL
Serbia
Montenegro
Bosnia and Herzegovina
182,800
17,200
200,000
Croatia
293,000
5,800
298,800
Macedonia
1,300
-
1,300
Slovenia
3,000
200
3,200
Refugees TOTAL
480,100
23,200
503,300


Repatriation to Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina

UNHCR began organizing the repatriation of refugees to Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) in 1996, soon after the signing of the Dayton Agreement. One of the main roles of UNHCR under the Annex 7 of the Dayton Accord has been to facilitate negotiations between the concerned governments to enable the safe return of refugees. In April 1998, a Protocol was signed between the Governments of FRY and Croatia, outlining a workable procedure for repatriation.

By December 1999, up to 6,000 refugees have returned voluntarily to their original homes with UNHCR assistance (4,300 to Croatia; 1,300 to BiH). An additional 38,000 are estimated to have returned on their own to these countries.

Aside from facilitating the safe return of refugees and addressing the multitude of legal issues related to the rights of returnees, one practical problem remained until recently: the tractors.

Many of the refugees are agricultural people originating from rural areas. They fled the conflict in tractor-trailers, which came to symbolize their plight and often remained their sole belonging. Many refugees understandably are reluctant to part with their tractors, which support their livelihood. The ability to bring home these vehicles, most without proper license plates, has been key for many of the refugees’ decision to return.

In 1998, UNHCR began returning tractors through a trucking company in FRY. After a brief interruption in 1999, UNHCR has resumed the tractor movements in September with additional help of Russian logistic experts, EMERCOM, delivering tractors directly to the returnees’ doorsteps. With twice weekly trailer-shuttles, about 200 tractors have been delivered home since September 1999.

Integration in FRY

Citizenship

After the break-up of the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia, the citizenship law in FRY came into effect in 1997. Its Article 48 specifically refers to refugees from BiH and Croatia. As at November 1998, some 83,000 applications (over 100,000 persons) for citizenship had been received from refugees, of which 25,500 cases (42,000 persons) had been granted citizenship. According to the Ministry of Interior, no negative decisions were taken on refugee applications.

In March 1999, however, the government’s processing of citizenship applications was effectively interrupted. The FRY authorities say that the administration of granting citizenship resumed only in the fall of 1999.

UNHCR believes that local integration is the lasting solution for the majority of refugees currently in FRY and will continue to support both refugees and the Government in this naturalization process.

Local settlement project

For refugees who wish to obtain FRY citizenship and integrate in the local society, UNHCR provides housing assistance to help in their efforts to do so. Since 1996, over 400 housing units have been built under local settlement projects in Montenegro and Serbia, including about 180 units in 1999 alone. There are an additional 300 units currently under construction and another 210 have been contracted.

There are two types of housings available for refugees who have applied for FRY citizenship. One is a ready-made house, which the refugees will have the chance to buy in installments once they receive citizenship; another is a self-help housing, where qualified refugees are provided with basic building materials with which they build on their own.

Local municipalities offer land and basic infrastructure (water, electricity), as well as either agricultural land or employment in the community for one member of the refugee family. UNHCR provides building supplies through the Swiss Disaster Relief (SDR) and some basic furniture to completed houses.

Although labor intensive, these local housing projects are, in UNHCR’s view, quite successful in providing future to the refugees. The houses are modest, but the refugees are very happy to have their own homes, a solid base from which they can restart their lives. So far the majority of houses are being constructed in the Vojvodina area in the north, but an increasing number of municipalities in central Serbia and Belgrade areas are expressing interest in participating in the project. Should funding permit, UNHCR will continue to expand local settlement projects to benefit more future FRY citizens.

Resettlement to Third Countries

UNHCR’s resettlement program for refugees in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) has been seriously hampered this year by the conflict in FRY. By the end of March, there were 2,000 refugees accepted for resettlement waiting to travel, while another 3,000 had been submitted to and awaiting decisions by resettlement countries. During the NATO air strikes, UNHCR and IOM urgently assisted the departure of accepted refugees to resettlement countries. With the assistance of the Hungarian government and the FRY authorities expediting the issuance of exit visas, more than 2,000 refugees had departed for six resettlement countries via Budapest by the end of August.

As the diplomatic presence in Belgrade has changed during 1999, UNHCR has sought innovative ways to continue the resettlement program. With the help of Romania, UNHCR has set up out-of-the-country interviews for about 4,000 refugees awaiting decisions.

Since 1992, UNHCR has resettled from FRY over 15,000 refugees, which is still a small number considering the half a million refugees remaining in the country. Yet, UNHCR considers resettlement as an important protection strategy providing lasting solutions to eligible refugees. The increasing economic and social difficulties in FRY further add to the need to keep the resettlement option open for refugees, not the least because refugees are affected first and most seriously. UNHCR is requesting resettlement countries to accept another 6,500 refugees in FRY for the year 2000.

1999 resettlement figures from FRY
(2 Dec. 1999)

COUNTRY
DEPARTED
ACCEPTED FOR
DEPARTURE
PENDING DECISION
AUSTRALIA
545
442
51
CANADA
40
39
248
CHILE
26
6
37
FINLAND
78
102
20
ITALY
-
4
-
GREAT BRITAIN
5
NETHERLANDS
294
3
NORWAY
39
146
22
SLOVAKIA
-
-
6
SWEDEN
43
3
699
USA
2,189
232
2,149
(refugee figures)
TOTAL
3,259
977
2,602

Winter Strategy

This winter is feared to be particularly harsh for people in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, with the predicted shortages of electricity, food and other basic commodities. UNHCR is gearing up to help refugees and internally displaced people in FRY to get through the cold season, particularly some 50,000 staying in more than 500 collective centers throughout Serbia and Montenegro. Meanwhile, UNHCR has called on the international community to give attention to the humanitarian needs of the wider public, which inevitably affects also the displaced population staying in private homes.

Heating fuel and coal

UNHCR resumed in October the delivery of heating fuel and coal to collective centers hosting refugees and IDPs. As at the beginning of December, over 3,500 metric tons of heating fuel and nearly 6,000 metric tons of coal have been distributed. UNHCR is planning to deliver a total of at least 8,500 mt of fuel and 13,000 mt of coal through the winter season.

Fresh food

In addition to fuel, UNHCR resumed the delivery of fresh food items in mid-October through CARE International. Up to 50,000 refugees and displaced people from Kosovo living in collective centers receives about 2 kg of food items (vegetables, fruits, jam, pasta, powder milk and eggs) per week.

The fresh food delivery to collective centers is normally done only during the winter season starting November. But for 1999 UNHCR had planned initially to continue the food delivery throughout the year, to compensate for the loss of summer jobs due to the declining economy in the host country. Due to the NATO air strikes and the abduction of the CARE workers, however, the fresh food delivery was suspended temporarily.

Shelter

As winter sets in, an increasing number of displaced people from Kosovo are looking for alternative shelter. This means that they can no longer afford private apartments or have over-stayed their host families’ welcome. To allow aid agencies to respond quickly to the growing needs for accommodation, UNHCR and its implementing partners have begun the search for possible shelter sites throughout Serbia and Montenegro, gathering data on estimated cost and resources necessary to repair the identified buildings. By December, UNHCR and other aid agencies have identified some 30 additional sites that may be suitable for accommodating over 2,000 displaced people.

Additionally, UNHCR has procured 1,000 winterized tents in case of emergency needs, for such IDPs who may find themselves in desperate need for alternative shelter to survive the winter.

UNHCR Areas of Responsibility in FRY

UNHCR has 1 Branch Office, 1 Sub Office and 5 Field Offices covering 181 municipalities in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, excluding Kosovo. The total staff size of 159 (26 international and 133 local) and the 1999 annual budget of US$ 54 million makes UNHCR the largest international humanitarian organization operating in the country.

The numbers of refugees and internally displaced persons in each of the field offices’ areas of responsibility (AOR) are provided below as rough indications only. The figures of displaced people from Kosovo are government registration figures, which are currently being updated jointly.


UNHCR Implementing Partners in FRY
Implementing partners
Activities
American Refugee Committee (ARC) Sanitation in Montenegro.
Action Contre la Faim (ACF) Water and sanitation repairs, kitchen set distribution.
Care International Fresh food delivery, distribution of heating fuel and coal, self-reliance program.
Commission for Real Property Claims (CRPC) Registration of refugees claiming property in BiH.
Catholic Relief Service (CRS) Wood purchase
Danish Refugee Council (DRC) Health counseling, community services, school equipment in Montenegro, support to IDPs in private accommodation, skills training, income generation program.
Emercom Transport of tractors for repatriating refugees.
Handicap International (HI) Assistance to the disabled.
Hi Neighbour (HiN) Income generation program, community services for children and elderly.
Humanitarian Centre for Integration and Tolerance (HCIT) Legal counseling.
Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) Legal counseling.
Institute for Mental Health (IMH) Psychological support to refugees and IDPs.
International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA) NGO network support.
Int’l Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) Secondary distribution of aid items.
Int’l Organization for Migration (IOM) Medical escort of repatriating refugees, resettlement processing.
International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) Self-reliance projects, repatriation of refugees to Krajina, repatriation information campaign.
International Rescue Committee (IRC) Medical program for vulnerables, income generation programs, skills training.
Italian Consortium of Solidarity (ICS) Income generation programs, skills training, community services in Montenegro.
Japan Emergency NGOs (JEN) Income generation program, skills training, community services.
Montenegrin Commissioner for Displaced Persons (MCDP) Running cost of CCs in Montenegro, registration of IDPs, financial support to IDPs.
Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) Shelter construction for refugees.
Odgovor Publication of refugee newspaper.
Oxfam Income generation projects, skills training, community services.
Radio B292 Radio broadcasting for refugees.
Refugee Commissioner of Serbia Running cost of CCs and institutions.
Sunce Community services.
Swiss Disaster Relief (SDR) Permanent shelter construction, emergency repairs of CCs, legal counseling, building adaptation.
World Vision (WV) Water/sanitary installations, repairs in Mont.
2000 Inter-agency Funding Requirements in the region
Total Funding Requirements for The Southeastern Europe Humanitarian Operation
By Sector and Country
APPEALING AGENCY
Sector
TOTAL (US$)
Human Rights, Protection and Promotion of Solutions Food Security
Health, Education and Community Services
Shelter/Non-food Items and Rehabilitation
Multi-sectoral Assistance and Programme Support
HQs SEO and LO Western Europe / Regional Coordination
UNHCR
19,136,168
12,101,209
41,302,087
84,441,989
53,069,939
2,981,984
213,033,376
FAO
-
23,760,000
-
1,300,000
-
-
25,060,000
ILO
-
-
-
22,760,000
13,680,000
-
36,440,000
IOM
21,865,000
3,248,625
5,400,000
-
-
30,513,625
OCHA
-
-
-
-
2,258,300
-
2,258,300
OHCHR
5,529,850
-
-
-
-
-
5,529,850
UNDP
21,865,000
-
-
38,000,000
36,950,000
-
96,815,000
UNDP/UNEP
-
-
-
-
1,500,000
-
1,500,000
UNESCO
-
-
13,210,000
-
-
-
13,210,000
UNFPA
400,000
-
2,100,000
-
1,222,000
-
3,722,000
UNICEF
15,860,000
-
40,430,000
-
7,510,000
1,200,000
65,000,000
UNIFEM
-
-
-
-
1,500,000
-
1,500,000
UNMAS
-
-
395,000
2,000,000
16,802,000
-
19,197,000
UNV
426,000
-
-
668,000
1,500,000
-
2,594,000
WFP
-
121,947,270
-
-
-
-
121,947,270
WHO
-
-
15,693,200
-
5,820,280
-
21,513,480
Total
85,082,018
157,808,479
116,378,912
154,569,989
141,812,519
4,181,984
659,833,901
APPEALING AGENCY
Country
TOTAL (US$)
Albania
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Croatia
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
Excluding Kosovo
Kosovo
UNHCR
12,046,447
43,852,300
16,880,347
71,841,808
50,329,600
15,100,890
213,033,376*
FAO
-
-
-
-
25,060,000
-
25,060,000
ILO
-
-
-
-
36,440,000
-
36,440,000
IOM
1,893,625
6,150,000
1,650,000
1,660,000
18,610,000
550,000
30,513,625
OCHA
-
99,000
1,180,000
979,300
-
2,258,300
OHCHR
-
970,100
1,330,000
2,229,750
1,000,000
-
5,529,850
UNDP
2,000,000
47,815,000
9,000,000
1,000,000
36,500,000
500,000
96,815,000
UNDP/UNEP
-
-
-
1,500,000
-
-
1,500,000
UNESCO
800,000
5,810,000
300,000
3,100,000
3,100,000
100,000
13,210,000
UNFPA
-
-
-
810,000
2,912,000
-
3,722,000
UNICEF
5,250,000
7,000,000
950,000
20,300,000
23,800,000
6,500,000
65,000,000**
UNIFEM
-
-
-
-
1,500,000
-
1,500,000
UNMAS
-
-
5,197,000
-
14,000,000
-
19,197,000
UNV
-
1,094,000
-
-
1,500,000
-
2,594,000
WFP
7,565,437
-
-
92,321,903
19,990,614
2,069,316
121,947,270
WHO
1,272,000
305,000
-
3,233,000
13,873,280
2,830,200
21,513,480
Total
30,827,509
113,095,400
35,307,347
199,176,461
249,594,794
27,650,406
659,833,901
* Includes US$ 2.98 million for HQs and LO in Western Europe.
** Includes US$ 1.2 million for regional coordination.

1999 Cash Contributions to UNHCR Operations (Regional)

Funds Available
Post Dayton
Operations
US$
*Kosovo Emergency
Operations
US$
Total
US$
Carry Over from 98
21,701,023
5,679,369
27,380,392
Other Income
6,461,009
-627,079
5,833,930
Contributions
-
-
-
Andorra
-
100,000
100,000
Australia
-
2,201,258
2,201,258
Austria
-
1,838,926
1,838,926
Austria (Private Donors)
-
507,380
507,380
Bahrain (Private Donors)
-
1,868
1,868
Bangladesh
-
50,000
50,000
Bangladesh (Private Donors)
-
30,115
30,115
Belgium
-
1,000,000
1,000,000
Brunei Darussalam
-
100,000
100,000
Canada
6,122,449
3,991,530
10,113,979
Canada (Private Donors)
-
5,075
5,075
China (Private Donors)
-
15,706
15,706
Croatia (Private Donors)
22,669
-
22,669
Czech Republic
--
86,900
86,900
Czech Republic (Private Donors)
-
280
280
Cyprus (Private Donors)
70
70
Denmark
1,353,180
7,585,431
8,938,611
Egypt (Private Donors)
-
7,357
7,357
Europe (Council of Europe)
-
918,351
918,351
Europe (European Commission)
9,948,414
66,623,755
76,572,169
Finland
877,903
1,759,417
2,637,320
Finland (Private Donors)
179,458
179,458
France
571,803
2,094,919
2,666,722
France (Private Donors)
-
148,094
148,094
Germany
2,596,415
3,232,333
5,828,748
Germany (Private Donors)
371,886
503,254
875,140
Greece (Private Donors)
1,640
1,640
Iceland
-
74,405
74,405
Indonesia (Private Donors)
225
225
Ireland
-
1,216,304
1,216,304
Italy **
-
2,289,556
2,289,556
Italy (Private Donors)
-
13,604,572
13,604,572
Japan
4,860,000
39,100,000
43,960,000
Japan (Private Donors)
94,022
1,579,075
1,673,097
Kuwait (Private Donors)
-
210,605
210,605
Liechtenstein
-
167,785
167,785
Luxembourg
-
1,528,579
1,528,579
Mexico (Private Donors)
-
2,923
2,923
Monaco
-
81,801
81,801
Netherlands
8,513,266
5,884,466
14,397,732
Netherlands (Private Donors)
-
500,000
500,000
New Zealand
-
195,650
195,650
Norway
10,188,216
10,383,620
20,571,836
Philippines
-
48,587
48,587
Poland
-
30,000
30,000
Portugal
-
300,000
300,000
Saudi Arabia
-
50,000
50,000
Saudi Arabia (Private Donors)
-
600,000
600,000
Singapore
-
50,000
50,000
Spain
-
1,263,207
1,263,207
Spain (Private Donors)
-
914,916
914,916
Sweden
3,787,840
3,868,837
7,656,677
Sweden (Private Donors)
3,368
-
3,368
Switzerland
-
6,711,410
6,711,410
Switzerland (Private Donors)
-
1,065,723
1,065,723
Thailand
-
93,512
93,512
Thailand (Private Donors)
-
2,451
2,451
United Kingdom
-
7,146,594
7,146,594
United Kingdom (Private Donors)
-
401,901
401,901
USA
25,000,000
78,500,000
103,500,000
USA (Private Donors)
-
4,481,346
4,481,346
Heavily earmarked unspendable in 1999
-
9,800,000
9,800,000
Additional projected obligations ***
9,616,908
24,599,267
34,216,175
Total obligations ***
110,582,394
287,055,729
397,638,123
NB. Some Donors have allowed UNHCR flexibility to use contributions as required for either "post Dayton" or "Kosovo Emergency" operations and as a result sums may be moved between the two columns with the agreement of these donors.
-
-
-
* Kosovo Crisis includes programmes in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
-
-
-
** An additional amount of $262,069 has been assigned from the Italian bilateral emergency fund from 1998
-
-
-
*** Kosovo Operation extended to 29.02.00 and FRY extended to 31.03.00
-
-
-

This document is intended for public information purposes only. It is not an official UN document.