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Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: Roma agree to remain

Briefing Notes, 12 August 2003

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 12 August 2003, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

Hundreds of Kosovo Roma, who had been camping near the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM's) border with Greece for nearly three months, in an unsuccessful bid to enter the European Union, have now agreed to remain in FYROM. They were moved over the weekend to collective centres and private accommodation in FYROM's capital, Skopje, and the city of Kumanovo. After months of talks involving representatives of the refugees themselves, the FYROM government, European Union officials, local NGOs and UNHCR the group of 668 agreed to leave the border village of Medzitlija where they had been camping since May 19. Out of the group, 122 persons have now been accommodated in the Katlanovo collective centre, 254 in private accommodation in Skopje region while 292 have been taken to a temporary transit shelter in Kumanovo, pending their relocation to more permanent accommodation. UNHCR welcomes the hospitality of the municipalities that are hosting the refugees.

Thousands of Kosovo Roma's fled to FYROM in the Summer of 1999 as Serbian forces pulled out of the province, fearing revenge attacks by Kosovo Albanians who accused the of siding with the Serbs. Some have since gone back to Kosovo or moved to Serbia proper but more than 2,500 remain in FYROM.




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A study of the lives of three Europeans who have been living as refugees in Serbia for more than 15 years.

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Serbia: Europe's forgotten refugees

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: Refugees Onward JourneyPlay video

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: Refugees Onward Journey

A transit centre at Vinojug, on FYR Macedonia's border with Greece is where the refugees and migrants pass through on their journey further into Europe. Here UNHCR and partner organisations provide food, water, medical care, psycho-social support and information for refugees who take the train towards the border with Serbia. UNHCR also provides information on how to access the asylum system in the country. In recent weeks, an average of 6,300 refugees pass through the camp every day, yesterday that number grew to 10,000, a record.
FYR Macedonia: Volunteers At HandPlay video

FYR Macedonia: Volunteers At Hand

Almost 300,000 refugees and migrants have passed through the Gevgelija transit center in the former Yusgoslav Republic of Macedonia, on their way to the EU since it was setup less than two months ago.
Serbia: Overstretched BordersPlay video

Serbia: Overstretched Borders

As Hungary builds a fence on its border with Serbia, the situation at the border between the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Greece is increasingly precarious. Refugees in Serbia on their way to Hungry fear the tighter measures and say they wouldn't have fled home had they not been forced to do it by the war.