Doc. 8527

18 September 1999

South-East Europe and Kosovo:
Evaluation of the humanitarian situation in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, particularly in Kosovo and Montenegro

Report

Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography

Rapporteur: Mr Tadeusz Iwiński, Poland, Socialist Group

Summary

This report is based on the findings of the delegation of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography which visited the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 22 to 29 August 1999, in accordance with Order No 552 (1999).

While expressing his satisfaction at the return to Kosovo of over 90% of Albanian refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), the Rapporteur is concerned by the plight of almost 200 000 Serb and Roma IDPs, constituting more than 80% of their pre-war population, who fled Kosovo after the withdrawal of Serb military forces, heading mainly to Montenegro and Serbia proper.

Their situation remains very precarious and the forthcoming winter presents a major challenge. Yet international humanitarian assistance provided to them is considerably smaller than that provided to the Albanian refugees during the recent conflict.

The Rapporteur reiterates that humanitarian assistance should be treated in compliance with the principles of the European Convention on Human Rights irrespective of nationality or ethnic group, and calls on the Member States of the Council of Europe to review the list of items recognised as humanitarian assistance to which economic sanctions imposed on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia should not be applied.

I.       Draft recommendation

1.       The Parliamentary Assembly refers to its recommendations 1376 (1998), 1397 (1999), 1400 (1999), 1403 (1999) on the crisis in Kosovo and situation in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), and to its Recommendations 1385 (1998) and 1404 (1999) on the situation of Kosovo refugees and displaced persons.

2. The Assembly reiterates that all refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in need of protection and humanitarian assistance should be treated in compliance with the principles of the European Convention on Human Rights irrespective of their nationality or ethnic group. The major concern should always be the protection of people. In this context a major change in existing perceptions of IDPs as Serbs, Albanians or Roma should be actively promoted at all political levels.

3.       The Assembly welcomes with satisfaction the return of most of the Albanian population of Kosovo, and expresses its appreciation at the efficiency and devotion of UNHCR and all agencies involved in this process. However, with over 150 humanitarian organisations operating in the region, every effort should be made to improve coordination of their activities.

4.       While remaining deeply concerned at the large number of ethnic Albanians whose plight is still unexplained, the Assembly is also deeply concerned by the plight of almost 200.000 Serb and Roma IDPs, constituing more than 80% of their pre-war population, who fled Kosovo after the withdrawal of Serb military forces.

5.       The Assembly notes with concern that considerably less international humanitarian assistance has been provided to the Serb and Roma IDPs than that provided to the Albanian refugees during the recent conflict. The Assembly expresses its firm conviction that humanitarian assistance should not be dependent on political considerations.

6.       While supporting international pressure on the Yugoslav authorities to meet Council of Europe standards, the Assembly considers that the list of items considered as humanitarian assistance should be revised and given absolute priority before the coming winter.

7.       The Assembly is concerned by the reluctance on the part of the Yugoslav authorities to fully co-operate with UNHCR in order to solve the problem of housing for IDPs, and is particularly alarmed by the difficulties concerning the provision of suitable accommodation for winter.

8.       A complex ethnic situation, in particular in Montenegro, combined with the burden of the influx of IDPs and economic difficulties, are likely to create dangerous tensions among the population.

9.       The Assembly is gravely concerned by the security situation in Kosovo, in particular in regard to Serbs and Roma. Fully aware of the difficulties encountered by KFOR in the fulfilment of their duty to protect the population, the Assembly considers that the strengthening of the UN civil police presence should be made a priority.

10.       The Assembly considers that democratic reconstruction, in particular the establishment of democratic institutions and civil society, constitutes an indispensable pre-condition for future stability in the region. The Council of Europe should bring all its experience to bear in this process.

11.       The Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers:

i.       urge the Member States of the Council of Europe:

ii.       urge the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK):

iii.       urge the Serb and Yugoslav authorities:

iv.       urge the Montenegrin authorities:

12.       The Assembly further recommends that the Committee of Ministers:

13.       The Assembly urges the Committee of Ministers and the Member States of the Council of Europe to recognise that for all of these humanitarian recommendations to be effective, resources will be required additional to those which would be available under its current policy of zero budgetary growth for the Council of Europe, and calls on the national parliaments to recognise this.

I.       INTRODUCTION

1.       Following the recent dramatic developments in Kosovo and the surrounding regions, the Parliamentary Assembly in its Order 552 (1999) instructed its Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography to send a delegation to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and in particular to Kosovo and Montenegro, in order to assess the humanitarian situation of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) and civilian victims of the military operations conducted by the parties to the conflict.

2.       The delegation, which was composed of the Committee Chair, Mr Díaz de Mera; the first Vice-Chair and Rapporteur, Mr Iwiński; the second Vice-Chair, Mrs Guirado; and the Chair of the Sub-Committee on Refugees, Lord Judd, as well as by Mrs Poptodorova who joined the delegation on behalf of the Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee and the Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men, visited the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on 22-29 August 1999. During the visit the delegation met representatives of the national authorities and international organisations responsible for the reception of refugees and displaced persons, and visited refugee and IDP camps in the region (See Appendix).

3.       The present report is based on the findings of that visit. It also takes into account the updated information provided by the international organisations involved in the humanitarian action in the field, in particular by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

4.       Since January 1998, the Assembly has held seven debates on the situation in Kosovo under the rules of urgent procedure. The Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography has contributed to them preparing three reports and three opinions. Aware of the rapidly changing situation in the region, the Committee refers to the main principles included in the Assembly's Recommendations 1376 (1998), 1397 (1999), 1400 (1999), 1403 (1999), 1404 (1999) and 1414 (1999).

5.       The Rapporteur stresses that the humanitarian situation in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia stems from the political problem and cannot be examined in abstraction from its political aspects. However, as the Political Affairs Committee has prepared a report on the latter, the Rapporteur has confined the present report to the humanitarian aspects.

6.       Similarly, economic questions are the subject of another report prepared by the Committee on Economic Affairs and Development, and consequently they are not dealt with here.

7.       Nor does this report deal with the humanitarian situation in the neighbouring countries, in particular in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Albania, where an estimated 26,000 Kosovars still remain, and where the consequences of the earlier influx of refugees are particularly serious. The Committee is monitoring the situation in these countries and will come back to this question at a later stage.

8.       In accordance with the chronological order of the visit, and taking into account the specific nature of the problems prevailing in the different parts of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the report is divided into three parts dealing separately with Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia proper.

9.       Your Rapporteur wishes to express his particular gratitude to UNHCR, without whose invaluable assistance the field visits could not have taken place.

II.       KOSOVO

1. General overview of the situation

Ethnic situation

10.       Before the outbreak of international hostilities, Kosovo was home to a complex mixture of ethnic groups, including over 1 million Albanians (Muslims and Catholics), 200,000 Serbs, 40–50,000 Romas, and some Muslim Slavs and Turks. Prior to the international conflict there were nearly 4,000  mainly Serb refugees from Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina and over 250,000 displaced persons, mainly Albanians, within the province.

11.       Out of approximately 900,000 Kosovo Albanians who had fled Kosovo during the conflict, 767,700 had returned by the end of August, including 51,000 from countries outside the region. Among those who have not returned so far the 18-25 year old age group is very predominant.

12.       The number of Serb and Roma population who have fled Kosovo following the withdrawal of Yugoslav forces and the arrival of KFOR amounts to 170-190,0001. According to UNHCR estimations the number of Serbs and Roma who have remained in Kosovo does not exceed 40,000.

13.       According to unconfirmed information from the international humanitarian agencies between ten and twenty thousand ethnic Albanians are missing and were probably killed by Yugoslav forces before their withdrawal from the province.

14.       It is estimated that between 300 and 500 Serbs and Roma have been killed since the withdrawal of Yugoslav forces.

Security

15.       The security situation in the province remains very precarious, in particular for minority Serb and Roma populations. Those who have not left are faced with continued harassment, intimidation and, in extreme cases, murder. Attacks against property and persons, kidnappings, firearm incidents, arson and looting continue to be reported throughout the province. For example in Prizren alone, an average 20 houses are burnt and six people are killed every week. Freedom of movement is extremely limited for Serbs and Roma in many areas including Priština. UNHCR notes with concern that the Serbs face obstacles in receiving humanitarian assistance in addition to being restricted from making use of public facilities such as hospitals.

16.       According to its Commander, General Sir Michael Jackson, KFOR is unable to provide security for every individual. Many Serbs decide to seek refuge in Orthodox monasteries and other buildings belonging to the Church, which plays an important role in the protection of the Serb community. KFOR assures protection of these buildings. The delegation visited the monastery in Prizren where over 200 Serbs had found shelter. They are provided with food by UNHCR and protected by KFOR.

17.       Common criminality, often organised and sometimes difficult to distinguish from ethnic violence, is another serious problem in the province.

18.       Under UN Security Council Resolution N°1244 of 10 June 1999, KFOR has the mandate and responsibility to ensure both public order and safety until the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) can take full responsibility for maintaining civil law and order in Kosovo. However KFOR is neither trained nor equipped for policing. It has no means and no legal basis to detain suspects or hold inquiries. Furthermore there is no legitimate authority to judge persons accused of having committed crimes.

19.       In this situation the establishment of a civil police force is a precondition for security, as all the interlocutors met by the delegation underlined. An international civil police presence became partly operational during the delegation’s stay in Kosovo – but given its limited financial and human resources it is highly doubtful that it will be able to guarantee law enforcement in the immediate future.

20.       The full demilitarisation of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) is another necessary precondition for security. The deadline for final disarmament is fixed at 19 September. KFOR authorities remain optimistic, but they do not exclude the risk of dissenting fractions refusing to follow the organisation’s leadership. The important question of the reintegration of KLA members into society remains to be dealt with.

21.       Control of movements of people across the border with Albania and "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" is practically non-existent. Allegedly many Albanian nationals have come to Kosovo in search of employment and, in some cases, pursuing criminal activities.

22.       Recent tensions due to the presence of the Russian contingent have not improved the overall security situation. It is worth noting that, according to information gathered during the visit relations between KFOR and Russian armed forces are good at the working level.

Civilian administration

23.       Despite the undeniable achievements of UNMIK in the administration of the country, a number of serious problems give cause for concern. According to the UN Representative, Mr Bernard Kouchner, manpower and budget constraints, disagreements over applicable legislation, and the lack of law enforcement are among major problems to be resolved. Behind them, there is the crucial issue of local and parliamentary elections, and of the future status of Kosovo.

24.       Problems of administration are directly related to the issue of security.

Economic situation

25.       The conflict has caused vast damage to the economy in Kosovo. The destruction of infrastructure and production facilities and the deterioration in commerce and transport systems have added to the pre-war economic difficulties. A joint international effort of reconstruction under the aegis of the European Agency for Reconstruction is an essential precondition for peace and democracy in the region. This issue is dealt with in the report on economic reconstruction and renewal in south-eastern Europe following the Kosovo conflict presented by MM. Kirilov and Obuljen on behalf of the Committee on Economic Affairs and Development.

2.       Main challenges

Democratisation

26.       The main task faced by the international community is the building of a democratic multi-ethnic society which can take responsibility for its future, and in particular the establishment of democratic institutions and civil society. There is a significant number of on-going and planned activities, co-ordinated by OSCE, like for example the training of local administrators.

27.       In this context the question of elections and the legitimisation of authority remains an essential issue. However, the necessary preconditions for the elections are a democratic culture and a sense of security. A number of most essential questions like the organisation of a reliable electoral register remain to be solved prior to the elections.

Security

28.       Security is a necessary precondition for the return of non-Albanians who had fled the province following the withdrawal of Yugoslav forces. In this context the issue of the strengthening of the UN civil police presence should be prioritised.

29.       A Police Academy run by the OSCE will shortly start its first training course for 200 future local police personnel, of whom approximately 15% belong to minorities, 20% are women and reportedly 50% former KLA fighters.

30.       The minority population still remaining in Kosovo are for the most part vulnerable, including the elderly and the handicapped, isolated in their homes, and with no family support. Together with NGOs and KFOR, UNHCR Field Offices have started to distribute assistance to Serbs directly to their residences.

31.       Mine clearance organisations continue their action and a mine-awareness campaign is underway.

Housing

32.       Damage assessments carried out independently by different agencies have revealed that over 120 000 homes have been damaged, with approximately 78,000 suffering serious damage or completely destroyed.

33.       As part of a major international effort to ensure at least basic shelter for all returnees this winter, UNHCR and its partners are providing shelter materials for distribution throughout the province. The aim of the programme is to provide enough materials to allow people to repair at least one room in their house before the onset of winter.

34.       UNHCR has so far distributed 5,800 basic shelter kits under a programme designed to provide enough material to allow home owners to temporarily weatherproof one room in their house before winter. These materials constitute a temporary measure to get people through the winter and are not meant to provide total reconstruction.

35.       For its part, the European Community Humanitarian Office is providing 20,000 basic kits while the US Agency for International Development is contributing 19,300. In all, the kits from the three agencies will benefit an estimated 387,000 people. At least 4 other organisations have pledged kits or pre-fabricated houses, bringing the total number to more than 75,000 kits. That should be enough for the estimated population living in what UNHCR calls Category 3 and 4 housing, which refers to damage ranging from 20 to 60 percent.

36.       In addition to shelter kits and individual building materials, tens of thousands of tents are also being distributed so families will have a place to stay while they repair their homes.

37.       To help owners of an estimated 47,000 non-repairable houses, UNHCR is implementing a programme of assistance to host families to encourage them to take in the homeless this winter. For those who will not find accommodation with the host families, UNHCR is identifying temporary community shelters as a last resort this winter.

38.       In addition to UNHCR’s shelter programme, other donors and bilateral NGO programmes are providing additional kits and other types of assistance, including pre-fabricated structures from Japan.

39.       In all, the international community is planning to distribute more than 78,500 shelter kits.

40.       Lack of power, and consequently shortage of electricity and gas heating seems to threaten many areas of Kosovo, and this question should also be given priority.

41.       It has to be stressed that all these measures are temporary and they aim at getting the population through the winter. The reconstruction effort proper should be a part of a global reconstruction program for the region.

Food

42.       Food aid in Kosovo is provided by the World Food Programme and Food for Peace. It is distributed through an extensive network of distribution points by international NGOs, contracted by UNHCR, and the local NGO, the Mother Teresa Society.

43.       A recent survey showed a satisfactory nutritional status throughout the province.

Health

44.       World Health Organization (WHO) co-ordinates health activities and is encouraging specialised NGOs to strengthen the local health services. For its part, UNHCR is co-ordinating the provision of health assistance during organised voluntary repatriation.

45.       The WHO operating in the region has stressed the need to rebuild a public health system capable of dealing with communicable diseases. Cases of polio, hepatitis A and haemorrhagic fever have been recorded. The risk of a major outbreak of communicable disease is very high as immunisation rates are very low in Kosovo.

Education

46.       According to UNICEF estimates there are 310,000 children aged between 7 and 14 years old. The Joint Civilian Commission for Education established by UNMIK is in charge of the reconstruction of the educational system in the province.

47.       Despite the shortage of infrastructure, materials and human resources, children started schooling on 1 September throughout the province.

48.       Schooling for Serb children remains problematic for security reasons.

49.       UNICEF is concerned by the fact that many schools remain uncleared of landmines and unexploded ordnance.

Non-food assistance

50.       In addition to shelter items, UNHCR and its partners are assisting refugees and internally displaced persons in Kosovo with a variety of non-food items, in particular blankets, mattresses, kitchen sets, jerry cans, hygienic items, stoves, winter clothing etc.

III.       MONTENEGRO

1. General overview

Humanitarian situation

51.       Before the mass inflow of IDPs from Kosovo, Montenegro had its own Albanian minority of approximately 9% of the population and the same number of Muslim Slavs living in the North of the country. Moreover there were some 24,000 mainly Serb refugees from Bosnia–Herzegovina and Croatia, some of them having lived up to 8 years in Montenegro. The population of Montenegro totalled approximately 600,000 people.

52.       At the peak of the migratory movement from Kosovo as many as 70,000 Albanians were staying in Montenegro. Nearly all of them have already returned to Kosovo. They have been replaced by some 30,000 Serbs and Roma from Kosovo who fled the province following the withdrawal of Yugoslav forces.

53.       A new movement of Kosovar IDPs from Serbia to Montenegro has been observed recently. No figures are available at this stage, and this may be a temporary trend. However, the better treatment that IDPs receive in Montenegro in comparison with the conditions offered to them by the Serbian authorities may explain this movement. In all, according to the Montenegrin authorities, the total number of IDPs and refugees amounts to 70,000, i.e. about 11% of the population.

54.       A complex ethnic situation, combined with the burden of the inflow of IDPs and economic difficulties are likely to create dangerous tensions among the population. In some areas such tensions may already be observed. The international community should be aware and make every effort to avoid ethnic problems in this part of the region.

55.       The Rapporteur wishes to point out with satisfaction that despite internal problems Montenegro has never closed its borders to displaced populations of any ethnic group throughout the conflict.

Economic situation

56.       The economic situation of Montenegro is particularly difficult. The republic is suffering from double economic sanctions: those imposed by the UN against Yugoslavia on the one hand, and those imposed by Serbia against Montenegro on the other. The consequences of the armed conflict and the burden of displaced persons have considerably worsened the situation.

57.       Legal insecurity and a planned referendum on future relations with Serbia add to the sense of economic and political insecurity in the republic.

58.       The international community is very hesitant in providing economic assistance to Montenegro. So far, only Norway and the Netherlands have provided direct financial assistance, and the United States has announced the intention to do so.

2. Challenges

59.       Economic assistance as a short term solution, and integration into the programme for economic reconstruction of south-east Europe in a long term, seem to be the only ways to provide Montenegro with realistic prospects for economic survival, and political and social stability.

60.       International assistance provided to Montenegro has decreased considerably after the return of the Albanian IDPs to Kosovo. The subsequent inflow of Serbian and Roma displaced population has not been followed by comparable international assistance. Consequently, the burden is heavier for the government and the local population.

61.       The majority of IDPs are accommodated in private houses. In the framework of humanitarian assistance provided by the European Union, host families receive 2 DM for every hosted person daily. In addition, local authorities receive 1 DM per person/per day. The money is transferred through the governmental Office of the Commissioner for Refugees. The delegation was informed of undue delays on the part of the Office in transferring money provided by the European Union to local authorities and families.

62.       8,204 IDPs who stay in collective centres are totally dependent on assistance from the Commissioner for Refugees and UNHCR, as well as from a number of humanitarian agencies.

63.       The majority of collective centres do not meet basic accommodation standards, in particular they have no adequate sanitation. This is particularly true for the centres where Roma are accommodated. The conditions in the collective centre in Rozaje, which the delegation visited, were hardly acceptable.

64.       The question of winterisation of displaced population from Kosovo is one of the most serious challenges to be faced in the forthcoming months. Many collective centres being opened as an ad hoc solution do not meet basic requirements for this purpose. UNHCR is planning to put up winterised tents and to distribute stoves and fuel as well as warm clothing. The delegation found it hardly acceptable to leave people in tents in areas where the temperature is likely to fall below 20°C.

65.       Due to the shortage of available space in collective centres persons suffering from mental diseases are accommodated together with other displaced population which is extremely difficult to bear for all concerned. In the collective centre in Berane, this was the main subject of complaints.

66.       IDPs and long term refugees have access to the public health system and schooling. However, given the economic difficulties and the large number of displaced persons, the infrastructure is totally inadequate, and should be strengthened through specialised assistance.

67.       The delegation learned of a number of housing projects underway for long term refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia. In particular, the delegation visited 240 housing units near Berane, built by refugees themselves with material provided by UNHCR. This solution, although more expensive than collective accommodation, is undoubtedly the best way to integrate for people who are unlikely to go back to their homes.

68.       With a view to increasing the flow of humanitarian assistance, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe is continuing its action for twinning of municipalities hosting IDPs in Montenegro with municipalities in other Council of Europe member States.

IV.       SERBIA

1. General overview

Humanitarian situation

69.       At the beginning of 1999, Serbia hosted some 480,000 mainly Serb refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia, some of them having been there since 1991. 37,000 lived in collective accommodation, almost exclusively dependent on humanitarian assistance, and the rest in private accommodation depending on partial humanitarian assistance, comprising food, hygiene items and heating fuel.

70.       In addition, there were approximately 50,000 Serbian IDPs from Kosovo staying mainly with host families.

71.       After the withdrawal of Yugoslav forces from Kosovo, nearly 170,000 Serbian and Roma IDPs arrived in Serbia. Most of them found shelter with private families, but approximately 40,000 are staying in 500 collective centres throughout Serbia.

72.       The refugee law of 1992 which is currently in force Yugoslavia does not apply to internally displaced persons whose status is not regulated by any other legal act.

73.       The NATO strikes had an impact on the humanitarian situation of the population as a whole, and in particular on those most vulnerable including long-term refugees and displaced population from Kosovo. It has aggravated the economic situation of the country, increasing unemployment and poverty. Apart from the direct destruction, there are obviously the long term effects of the air-strikes.

74.       One of the most serious consequences is the destruction of the electrical power system, which will have a direct impact on the heating of flats and houses in winter. The delegation considers that spare parts and equipment for the electricity system should be seen as a humanitarian priority.

75.       However the NATO bombing is blamed by Serb authorities for what was clearly already a severe economic and social crisis before the conflict.

76.       The vast majority of Serb interlocutors met by the delegation, including IDPs and refugees, did not recognise Serb responsibility for the recent events, and followed the lines of Serb propaganda in the explanation of the conflict. The anti-western attitudes put some pro-European and anti-Milosevic local authorities in an awkward position.

Challenges

77.       The large number of new IDPs, added to the refugees and IDPs who have been in Serbia for many years now, put a severe strain on a devastated Serb economy. However, it remains an open question to what extent, despite the solidarity rhetoric, the Yugoslav authorities are really committed to the plight of IDPs and refugees.

78.       Collective centres are in principle run by the Serb Commissioner for Refugees. UNHCR makes financial contribution to the Commissioner. Moreover, UNHCR provides food and non-food assistance directly to IDPs and refugees. The delegation was informed of 6–month delays, on the part of the Government, in transferring UNHCR funds to collective centres. As a result the conditions in the majority of them are disastrous, which was confirmed by the visit to collective centres in Kragujevac and Kraljevo. In the latter, about 40 people were staying outside the building, sleeping on tractor trailers, as there was no room inside.

79.       IDPs from Kosovo still occupy 29 schools which were opened for them as an ad hoc solution, and should have been vacated before the start of the school year on 1 September. In July, UNHCR addressed a formal request to the Serb authorities indicating 50 public buildings suitable for rehabilitation. So far the authorities have been rather reluctant to co-operate, and the problem remains unsolved.

80.       The forthcoming winter presents a major challenge. Many collective centres do not meet requirements for the winter. The Commissioner refuses to authorise UNHCR to put up winterised tents. At the same time the authorities give no authorisation to rehabilitate and occupy public buildings. The future of those concerned remains highly problematic.

81.       This situation raises the question of the role and freedom of action of UNHCR. UNHCR has a difficult task working in a rather hostile environment with little or no help on the part of the authorities.

82.       It is only recently, following pressure from UNHCR, that the Serb authorities have confirmed IDPs’ right to health and social care, and education. However, the capacity of the health and educational systems to deal with the large numbers is highly questionable. Supplementary assistance is provided by specialised humanitarian organisations on a case-by-case basis.

83.       Uncertainty concerning their rights forced many IDPs to move to Montenegro.

84.       WFP and UNHCR, with the participation of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have carried out an assessment of the food requirements of IDPs who fled from Kosovo. Kosovo IDPs staying in collective accommodation benefit from the same fresh food programme as provided for refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia still living in these centres.

85.       It is essential that more international humanitarian assistance addressed directly to refugees and IDPs be provided in co-operation with UNHCR.

V.       ROLE OF THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE

86.       The Council of Europe seems particularly well placed to contribute in its field of competence to international action designed to foster a democratic and multi-ethnic society, in particular in Kosovo, but also in Montenegro and Serbia. The Council of Europe has long-standing experience in providing legal advice, training, support for non-governmental organisations and local democracy, as well as confidence-building measures designed to overcome inter-ethnic prejudice.

87.       Following the contacts between the Council of Europe and UNMIK officials, concrete actions are being prepared or under way. For example, Council of Europe legal experts are assisting in the revision of law applicable in Kosovo with a view to eliminating rules incompatible with democratic standards.

88.       The Council of Europe also co-operates with OSCE within pillar III (institution building) of the Balkan Stability Part. It has been agreed that it will largely contribute to the preparation of the future elections.

89.       Targeted projects in the field of education, recreation and sport should be further elaborated by the relevant services of the Council of Europe.

90.       In order to facilitate communication with partners on the spot, the Council of Europe Secretariat has opened its Office in Priština. This should increase the Council of Europe’s involvement into the democratic reconstruction of Kosovo.

91.       The Parliamentary Assembly should use all its political influence in order to gain more support for the Serb displaced population in Montenegro and Serbia. Similarly, it should help to change public perceptions of IDPs as Serbs or Albanians. People in need of humanitarian assistance should not be distinguished according to their nationalities, and in particular, assistance should not be dependent on this distinction.

92.       The Council of Europe should maintain and develop contact with the Montenegrin authorities, and support all independent democratic forces in Serbia.

93.       The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities should continue its valuable initiative for the twinning of municipalities in the region which are hosting IDPs with municipalities in other Council of Europe member States with a view to increasing the flow of humanitarian assistance.

94.       The Social Development Fund should explore the possibility to further contribute to the international effort of economic reconstruction of the region.

95.       The Council of Europe should maintain its full support for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in its work to bring to justice those guilty of crimes against humanity and work to preserve the multi-ethnic character of Kosovo, where the rights of all citizens and the rule of law are respected.

APPENDIX

Visit of a delegation to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

(21–29 August 1999)

Joint programme with the President of the Parliamentary Assembly

(21 – 24 August 1999)

Members of the delegation of the President of the Assembly

Lord Russell-Johnston        President of the Parliamentary Assembly

Mr Bruno Haller       Clerk of the Parliamentary Assembly

Mr Matjaž Gruden       Deputy Head of the Private Office of the President of the Parliamentary Assembly

Members of the delegation of the Committee

Mr Agustín Díaz De Mera       Chairman, Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography (CMRD)

Mr Tadeusz Iwiński       1st Vice-Chairperson, CMRD

Mrs Ana Guirado       3rd Vice-Chairperson, CMRD

Lord Judd       Chairman, Sub-Committee on Refugees, CMRD

Mrs Elena Poptodorova       2nd Vice-Chairperson, Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men ; Member of the Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee

Mrs Agnieszka Nachilo       Co-Secretary CMRD

Mr Markus Adelsbach       Co-Secretary CMRD

PROGRAMME

Saturday, 21 August 1999

Arrival in Rome

Sunday, 22 August 1999

Priština, after transfer from Ciampino Airport with WFP flight

Briefings by:

Ms Helen Ramos, Head of Office, UNHCR Field Office Priština

Ms Maggie Nicholson, Senior External Relations Officer, UNHCR Kosovo

Mr Fredrick Holm, Council of Europe, Directorate of Political Affairs

Mr Jo Hegenauer, Deputy Head of Office, UNHCR Kosovo

Mr Tony Welch, Head of Office, Department of International Development (UK)

Ms Betsy Greve, Acting Head of Protection Unit, UNHCR Kosovo

Meetings with:

General Sir Michael Jackson, COMKFOR

Major General Ridgeway, Chief of Staff, KFOR at Film City, Dragodan, Priština

Mr Ibrahim Rugova, at his residence, Priština

Monday, 23 August 1999

Priština – Prizren – Mitrovica - Gracanica

Briefings by:

Mr Ulrich Bohner, Head of the Council of Europe office and Special Envoy of the

Secretary General

Meetings with:

Field visits to:

Gracanica : Meeting with Bishop Artemije in the Orthodox Monastery

Tuesday, 24 August 1999

Pristina – Pec – Rozaje – Berane

Departure of Lord Russell Johnston, MM Bruno Haller, Matjaž Gruden to Skopje (end of joint mission)

Briefings by:

Mr Francis Teoh, Repatriation Co-ordinator, UNHCR Kosovo

Ms Betsy Greve, Acting Head of Protection Unit, UNHCR Kosovo

Field visits to:

Priština :Bus station and airport – arrival of returnees

Wednesday, 25 August 1999

Berane – Andrijevica – Kolasin - Podgorica

Round Table with NGOs based in the North of Montenegro :

Mrs Daniyela Miloanic, Mr Bojovic Radule, Danish Refugee Council

Mr Phil Attwell, World Vision

Mrs Stephanie Hanouët, Mr Dennis Cornell, Action contre la Faim

Mrs Eleke Nagel, CRS, Caritas The Netherlands

Mrs Lidija Cukic, Help from Germany

Mr Massimo Bucci, Mrs Sara Piscicelli, InterSOS, Italia

Mrs Stéphane de Ricaud, Première Urgence

Field visits to:

Briefings by:

Mrs Annika Norlin, Head of Sub-Delegation ICRC

Mr Håkan Falkell, Emergency Co-ordinator, World Food Programme

Mrs Gizela Dajkovic, Coordinator of CPLRE initiative in Montenegro

Mr Gianluca Ferrera, Programme Officer, World Food Programme

Mr Philip Attwell, Relief Manager, World Vision

Thursday, 26 August 1999

Podgorica – Tivat airport, flight to Belgrade

Round Table with NGOs :

Mr Marc Nosbach, Save the Children/US

Mrs Isladana Pejovic, Forum Zena Crne Gore

Mrs Asier Santillan, M.P.D.L.

Mrs Alexandra Vujovic, Mrs Ivanka Brajovic, HELP

Mrs Sanja Ivanovic, SAH

Mr Thomas Verges, Pharmaciens sans Frontières

Meetings with:

Mr Dragiša Burzan, Deputy Prime Minister - Government building

Briefings by:

Ms Marion Hoffmann, Acting Deputy Representative, UNHCR Belgrade

Mr Andrei Kazakov, Acting Head Field Office Belgrade, UNHCR

Friday, 27 August 1999

Belgrade - Pancevo

Briefings by:

Meetings with:

Field visits to:

Saturday, 28 August 1999

Belgrade – Rachan - Kragujevac - Kraljevo

Field visits to:

Field visits accompanied by:

Meetings:

Sunday, 29 August 1999

Transfer from Belgrade to Zagreb airport by car, end of mission

Reporting committee: Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography.

Committees for opinion: Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee. Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men.

Budgetary implications for the Assembly: none.

Reference to committee: Order No. 552 (1999) of 28 April 1999.

Draft recommendation unanimously adopted by the committee on 10 September 1999.

Members of the committee : Mr Díaz de Mera (Chairman), Mr Iwiński (Vice-Chairman), Mrs Aguiar, MM. Akselsen, Amoruso (Alternate: Olivo), Mrs Arnold (Alternate: Mr Soendergaard), MM. Atkinson, Aushev, Beaufays, Mrs Björnemalm, MM. Bogomolov, Bösch, Brancati, Branger, Mrs Brasseur, Mrs Bušić, MM. Chiliman, Christodoulides, Chyzh, Cilevics, Clerfayt, Connor (Alternate: Daly), Debarge, Mrs Dumont, Mr Einarsson, Mrs Fehr, MM. Filimonov, Ghiletchi, Gyürk, Ivanov, Jakić, Lord Judd, Mrs Karlsson, MM. Koulouris, Kozlowski, Laakso, Lauricella, Liapis, Luís, Mrs Markovska, MM. Mateju, Melo, Minkov, Mularoni, Mutman, Ouzky, Pullicino Orlando, Rakhansky (Alternate: Strizhko), Mrs Rastauskiené, Mrs Roth, Mrs Sarishvili-Chanturia, MM. von Schmude, Tabajdi, Tahir, Telek, Mrs Terpstra, MM. Thönnes (Alternate: Mrs Lörcher), Tkác, Mrs Vermot-Mangold (Alternate: Mr Gross), Mr Wray, Mrs Zwerver, N….. (Alternate: Mrs Guirado, Vice-Chair), N…. (Alternate: Mr Paslaru).

N.B. The names of those members present at the meeting are printed in italics.

Secretaries of the committee: Mr Newman, Mrs Nachilo, Mr Adelsbach.


1        This figure includes 3,257 Serb refugees from Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.