OSCE Mission, UNHCR welcome Croatia's extension of housing care deadline

ZAGREB, 1 July 2005 - The OSCE Mission and UNHCR Representation in Croatia welcome yesterday's decision by the Government to extend the deadline for applications for the Housing Care Programme for former holders of occupancy/tenancy rights (OTR) who prior to the war lived in socially-owned flats.

The previous deadline, which expired yesterday, has been extended for a further three months, allowing former OTR holders who lived outside war-affected areas to lodge their applications for housing care by 30 September. There is no time limit for applications for refugees from war-affected areas.

Head of the OSCE Mission to Croatia, Ambassador Jorge Fuentes, said that former occupancy/tenancy rights holders are the most important remaining refugee category without housing options in Croatia.

"While welcoming the extension of this deadline, it is also important that the visible implementation of this housing programme is achieved during this period in order to encourage other former occupancy/tenancy rights holders who wish to return, to apply," he said.

The OSCE Mission and UNHCR Representation in Croatia have also financed and supported information activities in Croatia, as well as in neighbouring countries, to raise awareness among former OTR holders of the housing care options available to them.