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Yugoslavia: UNMIK, UNHCR and PISG launch the Manual for Sustainable Return

PRISTINA - SRSG Michael Steiner today met with Prime Minister Bajram Rexhepi, COMKFOR General Mini, and UNHCR Chief of Mission Mr. Walter Irvine to launch the "Manual for Sustainable Returns". The Manual, which was jointly produced by UNMIK and UNHCR, is a practical guide to the both the policies and structures of the returns process. Today's meeting, the second session of the Task Force on Returns, a forum established to discuss the returns process in Kosovo, also considered "lessons learned" from returns in 2002 and efforts to improve the security climate for all ethnic communities in Kosovo.

The Manual is designed to:

  • Provide guidance and support to all those working on returns concerning the process to make sustainable returns happen;

  • Ensure that all returns efforts embody key principles on return, including the right of each individual to make a genuine and informed choice to return; and

  • Enhance coordination and eliminate duplication within returns efforts.

All participants in the Task Force welcomed the publication of the Manual. The SRSG emphasized that the Manual is a crucial tool for undertaking the serious business of returns, and noted that with the Manual in hand, all those working to support returns will be better able to come together to meet this central challenge for Kosovo's future.

The Task Force called for intensified efforts to improve security conditions for all Kosovo's communities and to facilitate return of displaced persons. Noting the essential role of municipal officials in building a tolerant multi-ethnic society, the Task Force urged all municipalities to participate actively and constructively in Municipal Working Groups on returns. With spring approaching, the Task Force also stressed the urgent need for funding to support returns, and the importance of flexible and rapid response to returns.