Croatia

Government proposal positive step towards solution for lost tenancy rights in Croatia

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ZAGREB 5 February 2003 - The Croatian Government's announcement on tenancy rights is a positive step towards the resolution of the problems in this field, Head of the OSCE Mission to Croatia, Ambassador Peter Semneby said today.
Minister for Public Works, Construction and Reconstruction, Radimir Cacic, had said on Monday that housing will be provided for returning refugees who used to live in flats with occupancy/tenancy rights in areas that remained under state control throughout the 1991-1995 conflict, including large Croatian cities.

"Refugees and displaced persons should be properly informed, and should be able to make their choice to return without time pressure," Semneby said. He added that any solution should ensure that housing of adequate standard is available within a reasonable time after the application is filed.

Properly implemented, such a scheme would be an important step towards ensuring that the priority category of returning refugees are given access to adequate housing, regardless of the part of the country they came from.

The scheme should be extended beyond the new arrivals, notably to refugees who have already returned and to those who lost their occupancy/tenancy rights under similar circumstances but did not leave the country.

Refugees and displaced persons from the areas that remained under state control throughout the 1991-1995 conflict, particularly the large cities of Zagreb, Split, Zadar, Rijeka, Osijek and Karlovac, are currently denied housing in compensation for occupancy/tenancy rights flats that were taken away from them. Approximately 24,000 families have lost their homes through court proceedings terminating occupancy/tenancy rights in these areas until now.

By contrast, former tenancy rights holders in the so called Areas of Special State Concern, whose tenancy rights were also terminated, have been entitled to apply for housing from last year.

The OSCE Mission and its partners were ready to give advice and monitor the further work on the proposal and its implementation, Semneby said. In particular, the Mission intends to work closely together with the European Commission.

For further information, please contact:

Alessandro Fracassetti
Spokesperson
OSCE Mission to Croatia
Florijana Andraseca 14
10000, Zagreb
Croatia
GMT +1

Tel.: +385 1 309 66 20 / +385 91 1988 904 (mobile)
Fax: +385 1 309 62 97
E-mail: pau@oscecro.org