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Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, Chaloka Beyani: Follow-up mission to Serbia, including Kosovo (A/HRC/26/33/Add.2)

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Human Rights Council

Twenty-sixth session

Agenda item 3

Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development

Summary

The present report contains the findings and recommendations of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs), subsequent to his follow-up visit to Serbia, including Kosovo,* from 9 to 12 October 2013. The Special Rapporteur’s mission to Belgrade, Prishtinë/Priština and other locations was conducted in full compliance with Security Council resolution 1244 (1999). Any reference to Kosovo, whether to the territory, institutions or population, is to be understood in line with the United Nations policy of strict neutrality on the status of Kosovo.

In the present report, the Special Rapporteur examines the situation of internally displaced persons, taking into account the notable efforts of the Government of Serbia and the authorities in Kosovo to improve the situation of IDPs since the visit by previous mandate holder Walter Kälin in 2009. The Special Rapporteur calls upon the Government of Serbia and the authorities in Kosovo to focus on effective law enforcement measures, political commitment and coordination in the implementation of durable solutions for IDPs. He commends the Government of Serbia and the authorities in Kosovo for their flexibility in considering local integration as a viable durable solution, alongside return or settlement.

There is a window of opportunity favourable to the implementation of durable solutions, in the context of the current discussions with the European Union on eventual accession by Serbia and Kosovo.

Thousands of IDPs still live in collective centres, in dire conditions, without or with only limited access to running water, electricity and heating fuel, and sharing kitchens and bathrooms. The living conditions for other IDPs in private accommodation are not better, either. Among the most vulnerable IDPs are the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians, many of whom live in informal settlements and do not have personal documentation, rendering them potentially stateless and making it difficult for them to access public services.

For many IDPs, issues of property ownership remain unresolved, and it is of utmost urgency that these be resolved more effectively. Decisions made by the Kosovo Property Agency in Prishtinë/Priština need to be enforced and adverse possession of property in the aftermath of decisions favourable to IDPs should be prevented by the authorities. Moreover, it is clear that issues of property, the registration of IDP voters, and voting arrangements should be a regular feature of the dialogue between Belgrade and Prishtinë/Priština.