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Serbia and Montenegro: Displaced from Kosovo still needy

15-06-2005 News Release 05/52

The ICRC today published a detailed assessment of the plight of particularly vulnerable internally displaced people from Kosovo who are now living in Serbia and Montenegro proper.

The ICRC aided these people for nearly six years after they fled Kosovo in 1999. To determine the current situation of the poorest among the displaced population and to assess the impact of the organization's micro-economic initiatives in their behalf, the ICRC commissioned an independent study, which was carried out in March and April of this year.

The two resulting reports made public in Belgrade today show that the most vulnerable displaced people are now in a more difficult situation than when previous assessments were conducted in 2002 and 2003. Among the major causes of the deterioration are continued depletion of displaced peoples'assets, difficulties in making use of their property left behind in Kosovo, problems obtaining social services, the closure of centres housing displaced people, and a general drying up of humanitarian aid.

The reports also show that income-generating projects organized by the ICRC in the form of in-kind grants, vocational training and micro-credits have generally proven relevant, effective and appropriate, and helped improve living conditions for many. This aid has enabled beneficiaries to help themselves and thereby regain a sense of dignity and self-worth.

The ICRC has gradually phased out its aid programmes because it believes that after six years of displacement, humanitarian action is no longer the right way to address the needs of the most vulnerable among the displaced. Long-term programmes to tackle structural problems (macro-economic and legal issues) are now required. Such measures should also address the needs of the poorest segments of the resident population. The ICRC therefore calls on both the author ities and the donor community to go on working to meet the material and legal needs of all concerned.

 For further information, please contact:  

 Florian Westphal, ICRC Geneva, tel. +41 22 730 29 30 or +41 79 217 32 26  

 Gordana Milenkovic, ICRC Belgrade, tel. +381 11 344 15 22