Urging for sustainable solution for internally displaced persons in Kosovo
IOM, UNDP and UNHCR urge the institutions to step up joint efforts to find durable solutions for internally displaced persons in Kosovo through strengthening of inter- ministerial cooperation, data gathering and closure of collective centers among the key factors to help women, men and children living in displacement rebuild their lives.
Strengthening of inter-ministerial cooperation, data gathering and closure of collective centers among the key factors to help women, men and children living in displacement to rebuild their lives.
Pristina, 26 June 2019 – The needs of the Internally Displaced Persons must be addressed through durable solutions, and this needs to be put high on the political agenda of Kosovo. The legislative and policy framework is in place and along with the support of the UN Kosovo Team and of the international community a holistic approach needs to be tailored in order to enable IDP families to rebuild their lives.
This was one of the main messages echoed during the roundtable prepared with the Ministry for Communities and Return on the occasion of the launch of the multi-stakeholder Plan of Action for Advancing Prevention, Protection and Solutions for Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in Kosovo; organized by International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Kosovo and the Refugee Agency’s Office of the Chief of Mission in Pristina (UNHCR).
The UN Development Coordinator in Kosovo, Ulrika Richardson reminded for the need of a joint response mechanism for protecting the rights and dignity of those that are displaced. “Over the past years we have seen unprecedented numbers of people on the move across the world, fleeing from conflict, violence or discrimination, but also because of natural or human-made disasters; at the same time, we have seen the appalling consequences caused by the lack of adequate joint response mechanisms to receive people in a dignified manner protecting their rights during displacement and planning for sustainable, durable solutions,” said Ulrika Richardson, UN Development Coordinator
“As international community, but also as national governments, we have an even stronger obligation: to prevent women, men and children from fleeing by providing better living conditions ad equal opportunities for everyone on the ground,” she added.
UNHCR estimates that around 16,000 individuals in Kosovo are still in a condition of vulnerability and are awaiting solutions to their displacement.
“There are people still in displacement; some of them hosted in collective centres and living – as we have heard today from their voices – in appalling and unacceptable conditions. This needs to end. There is a clear urgency to strengthen cooperation among all stakeholders, as only a shared responsibility among government actors can address the complex but solvable situation of protected displacement, “added Richardson.
The importance of inter-ministerial cooperation was highlighted also by UNHCR. “We acknowledge the efforts and the leadership of the Ministry for Communities and Returns in promoting the rights of IDPs, but central and local institutions from different ministries and sectors need, together with support of the international community, to step up their efforts to implement durable solutions and reintegration for returnees and displaced persons. In this regard, the effective functioning of the inter-ministerial Committee on Communities and Returns would play a key role in addressing the problem, “said Erol Arduç, UNHCR Chief of Mission.
The lack of a database and, in general, of management of quality data on displaced individuals emerged as a crucial gap faced by authorities and stakeholders in their attempt to plan sustainable response to the needs of IDPs.
“Without data we won’t know how to respond, nor we will know if the response may achieve the required impact. A comprehensive, inclusive and participatory assessment of the displaced population in terms of numbers, gender, age, ethnicity, specific vulnerability, needs and preferred durable solution should be undertaken by relevant authorities as a matter of priority as the first step to define a comprehensive response plan to resolve the protracted displacement situation within Kosovo”, said Richardson.
Maria Suokko, UNDP Resident Representative, emphasized the importance of engaging IDPs in a participatory way in identifying solutions which could be sustainable on the long-term, and confirmed UNDP commitment to supporting the process: “We, as part of the UN Kosovo Team, stand ready and remain committed to continue providing support and technical assistance to accelerate access to basic services, livelihoods and overall durable solutions for the most vulnerable IDPs”.
The conference was concluded by the final remarks of Richardson who recalled how “Kosovo has the necessary legislative and policy framework, along with the full support of the UN Kosovo Team and of the international community, to address the needs of IDPs. What we need now is to ensure that the demand for durable solutions enter the political agenda in order to enable these families to rebuild their lives.”
The joint IOM, UNHCR and UNDP appeal was made during the roundtable on the occasion of the launch of the multi-stakeholder “Plan of Action for Advancing Prevention, Protection and Solutions for Internally Displaced People in Kosovo”. The plan is part of a broader global campaign connected to the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the “Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement”: the recognised international framework defining who IDPs are and setting out their rights to be protected and assisted, before and during displacement and in their search for durable solutions.