UNHCR’s presence in Montenegro was established in 1992. Ever since, UNHCR has contributed more than 54 million USD in supporting the Government of Montenegro (GoM) and has provided assistance to more than 140,000 refugees and internally displaced persons (IDP’s). Following the independence of Montenegro in 2006, UNHCR’s office in Podgorica was upgraded to a Representation in December 2006.
Currently, UNHCR is supporting the GoM to fully implement its Strategy for Durable Solutions, which allows refugees from the former Yugoslavia to apply for the legal status of foreigner with permanent residence By obtaining this status, displaced persons are provided with almost same rights as Montenegrin citizens, with exception of the right to vote; this seems to be the most viable solution, since voluntary repatriation has largely been exhausted. Some 7,700 persons still hold the status of a displaced or internally displaced person in Montenegro and are in need of regulating their legal status, while some 8,500 former refugees obtained the foreigner status, but still face certain obstacles in access to their rights. Both populations remain subject of the UNHCR concern in Montenegro until reaching full integration into the society. The Office assists extremely vulnerable individuals through legal assistance and social welfare programs. Housing assistance has been extended, in partnership with the European Commission and other donors, via the Regional Housing Program (RHP).
At the same time, UNHCR facilitates informed voluntary repatriation to Kosovo under UNSCR 1244/99, particularly by providing up-to-date information to those who wish to return to their country of origin.
UNHCR's strategy for the prevention and reduction of statelessness focuses on ensuring their implementation, mostly through changes in the country’s national legislation concerning procedures for late registration and naturalization. Montenegro acceded to all major international legal instruments regulating statelessness. UNHCR also provides free legal aid to stateless peopleavailing themselves of registration and naturalization procedures. UNHCR will support the work of the government to identify and assist those who have declared they are without a nationality during the 2011 Census (4,312 persons) with a view to resolve the situation.
Within its mandate UNHCR has been providing assistance to the asylum system, which is one of the core segments of the Chapter 24 of the EU accession. In particular, the Office supports the Government in strengthening capacities for processing the increasing number of asylum applications, improving reception conditions for asylum-seekers and integration perspectives for persons granted international protection and establishing protection-sensitive entry system
REGIONAL HOUSING PROGRAMME
UNHCR is working to bring the protracted displacement situation in this sub-region to a close. It will work with partners to encourage voluntary return, local integration and naturalization, as applicable, for persons displaced by past conflicts. Revitalization of Sarajevo Process, aimed at closure of 1991-95 displacement chapter in the region, led to Joint Ministerial Declaration signed in Belgrade, in November 2011, which opened avenues for assistance towards housing for some 1,177 families (6,063 persons), paving the way to a durable solution. The Declaration led to the organization of the Donors Conference in Sarajevo in April 2012, where over 260 million of Euros were pledged for the Regional Housing Programme for the most vulnerable refugees in the region. Montenegro plans to submit projects in the total value of 27 million Euros.
|Regional Housing Programme
||Regional Housing Programme
The three objectives UNHCR will pursue in South-Eastern Europe are to: (i) find durable solutions for the remaining refugees; (ii) reduce statelessness and respond to the needs of people at risk of statelessness; and (iii) help States to develop and strengthen their national asylum systems in line with international and EU standards.
RHP Assembly of Donors approved secondnd wave of sub-projects.
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In Montenegro, UNHCR will support efforts to find durable solutions for persons displaced by the conflicts in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Kosovo under UNSCR 1244, and to prevent statelessness. The Office will also support Montenegro's efforts to enhance the asylum system that complies with international and EU standards.
UNHCR will advocate for the resolution of the legal status of some 16,500 “Displaced Person” or “Internally Displaced Person” whose status obstructs their full enjoyment of economic and social rights in Montenegro. The Government of Montenegro adopted the Action Plan for Resolution of the Status of Displaced Persons from the Former Yugoslav Republics and of the Status of Internally Displaced Persons from Kosovo in Montenegro, on 17 September 2009. The Action Plan creates a mechanism for displaced persons and internally displaced persons to have privileged access to the status of foreigner with permanent residence. This status intends to provide almost the same rights as that of Montenegrin citizens.. The lack of status hinders their integration in the country, although after more than 20 years, this is the most viable durable solution as interest in voluntary repatriation has largely been exhausted.
The Office will continue to assist extremely vulnerable individuals through legal assistance and social welfare programs. Limited housing assistance will also be extended, in partnership with the European Commission and other donors. The Regional Housing Programme (RHP) is a joint multi-annual programme aimed at providing permanent housing solutions for most vulnerable refugee families.
At the same time, UNHCR will facilitate informed voluntary repatriation to Kosovo under UNSCR 1244, particularly by providing up-to-date information to those who wish to return to their country of origin.
UNHCR will support the work of the government to identify and assist those who have declared they are without a nationality during the 2011 Census (4,312 persons) with a view to resolve the situation.
Estimate of Refugees and Displaced Persons in South-Eastern Europe as at 31 March 2014
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