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Pristina, 24 August 2020 – The European Union (EU), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) launched a EUR 8 million project “Addressing COVID-19 Challenges within the Migrant and Refugee Response in the Western Balkans”, which is financed under the EU Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created extraordinary and unprecedented challenges for the EU, both in Europe and across the world. The EU has demonstrated its leadership and responsibility by putting together a collective, coordinated and coherent global response to the pandemic, bringing together EU institutions and Member States as “Team Europe”. At the core of the “Team Europe” approach, is a strong message of European solidarity with partner countries, as it is the case with this project.

The project, will help ensure that the rights of migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees are protected and that asylum and migration management systems remain operational. It will contribute to mitigating the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in the Western Balkans.

Covering Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo*[1],the project addresses the shortage of protective equipment for border police officials and personnel working in reception facilities or providing services to migrants, asylum seekers and refugees. In addition, it shall help prepare and train the responsible staff to respond to the COVID-19 challenges in adapting reception centers, scaling up sanitary infrastructure and providing basic services and hygiene items. The project will also promote and disseminate critical and factual information about the COVID-19 risks and measures in languages understood by the different communities, migrants, asylum seekers and refugees.

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[1] This designation is without prejudice to the position on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.

For further information please contact:

IOM Kosovo

Habib Habibi, Project Coordinator

Email:  hhabibi@iom.int

UNHCR Kosovo

Shpend Halili, Communications

Email:  halilis@unhcr.org

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