There Is No Place Like Macedonia - Kosovo Fugitives Do Not Want to Return Home

Kosovo fugitives in Macedonia Photo: Radovan Vujovic

I have nowhere to go. I come from Urosevac, but I do not have a house there, I live in a rented one. If they give me a house, I will return, otherwise I will stay here, says Xhezide Aslani, one of the thousands refugees from Kosovo still living in Macedonia, Dnevnik daily reads.

Xhezide, as other refugees who migrated here after the Kosovo conflict, lives in Suto Orizari in Skopje. She says life here is not excellent, but she has no intention of returning to Kosovo. She has not been there for 15 years now.

"I have no citizenship, and no job. I am 62-years-old, where would I find a job? With 65 years I should receive pension in Kosovo, but I do not know what will happen. I receive here some MKD 1,100, which apparently is not enough for anything, medicine, food, rent," Xhezide says. 

'There is no other place like Macedonia'

Right across the street lives Samanda. She does not wish to return to Kosovo, too.

"What are we going to do there? There is no place like Macedonia. Look at my big house. I have nothing there. Why should I return? I got married here, I have many children, I feel good," Samanda said.

Kosovo refugees who migrated to Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia 15 years ago during the conflict, still have no households in their homeland, nor in the countries they moved to.

The UNHCR Head of Mission, Joe Hegenauer, has called on authorities to provide safe returning of migrants from Kosovo.

"It's time Kosovo authorities resolve the unsettled property issues and provide land so the people can return safely and voluntarily. The municipalities have competence over the land. They must fulfill their obligations and remove all obstacles for safe returning of refugees," Hagenauer said.

Data show that some 90,000 refugees moved to Serbia after the Kosovo war, whereas in Montenegro there are some 6,600 fugitives, about 1,000 in Macedonia and some 130 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Balkan Inside writes.

According to the information from UNHCR, some 200,000 persons live outside of Kosovo.

Documentation issues

Kosovo's Ministry for Communities Returns said that, in accordance with their term, they are doing everything to provide conditions for safe returning of all interested parties.

"The Government in Pristina supports all efforts made by the Ministry for welcoming displaced persons," Igbale Maloku, a Ministry representative, explains.

He adds the construction work of facility for accommodation of fugitives is ongoing, but documentation problems have occurred.

"Houses, or, as you say, capacities are built based on individual requests by persons who intend to come back. Therefore, anyone who wants to return to Kosovo must submit an application. The Ministry is facing documentation and ownership issues, however, in coordination with other ministries and international organizations, these problems can be overcome," Maloku underscores.

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