FYR of Macedonia: 2,000+ head home
Briefing Notes, 3 April 2001
This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Kris Janowski – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at the press briefing, on 3 April 2001, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
At least 2,000 residents of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia have headed back to their homes over the past few days, after fighting died down in the north of the country. Only a handful of people crossed from Macedonia to Kosovo over the weekend, while monitors of the border crossings between Macedonia and Albania saw hundreds of people headed back to Macedonia and virtually no people leaving. The number of Macedonian nationals in Turkey also dropped considerably, with hundreds heading back home daily. An unspecified number of people, who had sought safety in Macedonia's capital Skopje, have gone back to their homes in the Tetovo area. It was not immediately clear how many people have gone back since the fighting died down, but various border monitoring figures indicate that at least two thousand people have now returned to their homes. Virtually no returns have been reported from Kosovo, which hosts some 8,500 people. Many of them escaped from areas directly affected by the fighting. The U.N. mission in Kosovo today started registering the group. The registration, which was prepared by UNHCR, is designed to get a better idea of the number and the identity of people who have left Macedonia for Kosovo.