IDPs in the Balkans—The Challenges of Sustainable Return

Walter Kälin
Walter Kälin Former Brookings Expert

November 1, 2005


In June, Walter Kälin, the Representative of the UN Secretary-General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, visited Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia and Montenegro including Kosovo. Throughout the region he found that, several years after the armed conflicts of the 1990s, much has been achieved in addressing the needs and problems of the displaced population. The number of IDPs has been significantly reduced as many displaced persons have been able to return to their original places of residence. A large number of property disputes have been resolved and houses and apartments have been repossessed by, or at least re-allocated to, their previous owners.

However, the Representative also concluded that more efforts are needed to remove remaining obstacles to the IDPs’ full enjoyment of their rights.

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