The ICRC in the Balkans : frequently asked questions

1. What is the Red Cross actually doing in Kosovo today?

The ICRC is now back in Kosovo since 24 May. The ICRC is focusing on helping to protect both ethnic Albanians and Serbs from the dangers of violence in Kosovo, re-establishing family links with the four mobile tracing units, travelling throughout Kosovo and putting people in touch with their families outside of Kosovo through Red Cross messages and the mobile telephone set-up (About 300 people everyday are using the telephone service. Another priority is to bring food directly to those people still displaced in Kosovo or without means to survive (the ICRC delivered some 300 MT of food for 60,000 people last week).

2. What is the ICRC doing about the Kosovo Albanians detained in Serbia?

The ICRC has received from the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Serbia the names and location of a total of 2,095 persons held in places of detention in Serbia in relation to the conflict in Kosovo. This includes 166 persons who were released on 25 June and returned to their homes in Kosovo under the auspices of the ICRC.

Based on the information received, the ICRC has already visited 331 detainees held in Sremska Mitrovica. In the coming days, the ICRC will be further visiting detainees held in Prokuplje, Zajecar, Pozarevac, Nis, Leskovac, Vranje and Novi Pazar.

3. I read in your bulletin that you do not accept "unsolicited goods" for you Balkans relief program, what is that?

"Unsolicited goods" are food or other material (e.g. clothes) that are sent to us without us requesting them. A problem we have faced during this operation is that some organisations and individuals send material direct to the Balkans without it being requested. Often we cannot use this material as it is either inappropriate for the country or not a priority for the people in need. We ask all people who would like to contribute to discuss first with their National Red Cross or Red Crescent Society to assess whether what they would like to donate is really needed or not.

Réf. LG 1999-119-ENG