un.org <http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=54940#.V96G-q0lmno>  

UN News - UN rights expert calls for durable solutions for the displaced in
Serbia and Kosovo

16 September 2016 - Concluding his five-day visit to Serbia and Kosovo, a
United Nations human rights expert called on the Government of Serbia and
the authorities in Kosovo to find an urgent and sustainable solution for
people who have been displaced for almost 17 years. 

"All durable solutions for the internally displaced persons should remain as
options open to them, and must be delinked from political processes," said
the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced
persons <http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/IDPersons/Pages/IDPersonsIndex.aspx>
, Chaloka Beyani in a news release
ID=E>  issued by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
(OHCHR <http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Pages/WelcomePage.aspx> ). 

"I urge the authorities to carry out profiling and needs assessment
exercises, and survey of the wishes or intentions of internally displaced
persons," he added, noting that emphasis should not be on return alone. 

The release further noted that according to the Office of the UN High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR
<http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/home> ), there are still some 88,000
vulnerable internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Serbia and more than
16,000 in Kosovo who remain with displacement related needs and require
durable solutions. 

The UN human rights expert also expressed concern over the living conditions
of many IDPs, especially those belonging to the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian

"These IDPs have specific protection needs, especially in terms of accessing
their rights to housing, employment, health care and education," Mr. Beyani
stressed, adding that these should be addressed as a matter of urgency. 


Ashkali children at home in the improverished suburb of Fushë Kosovë in
Pristina, the capital of Kosovo. Photo: UNICEF/Giacomo Pirozzi

Highlighting that durable housing is a key element of sustainable solutions,
and it should be linked to livelihood opportunities, the Special Rapporteur
noted that a number of other issues, such as rule of law, illegal occupation
of properties and effective compensation for properties that cannot be
recovered also require attention. 

The UN expert further emphasised that the concerns of IDPs in Serbia and
Kosovo should remain on the agenda of the international community and that
this should be addressed as a key component in the context of the European
Union accession framework and in the framework of the Brussels dialogue
between Belgrade and Pristina
<http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44708> .

"I call upon the international community not to turn a blind eye to IDPs
[there], and to continue supporting the Government and authorities in Serbia
and Kosovo respectively in their efforts to achieve durable solutions to
IDPs, and close the internal displacement chapter once and for all," said
Mr. Beyani. 

During his visit, to assess progress made on his earlier recommendations
<http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx?si=A/HRC/26/33/Add.2> , the UN
Special Rapporteur recognised that some positive steps have been taken by
the Serbian Government and the Kosovo authorities, including in terms of
housing, land and property issues as well as in terms of institutional
arrangements and legal and policy frameworks to respond to the situation of

Independent Experts and Special Rapporteurs, are appointed by the UN Human
Rights Council <http://www.ohchr.org/en/hrbodies/hrc/pages/hrcindex.aspx>
to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights
theme. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are
they paid for their work.


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