Friday, 8 February 2008

Chairman of the Committee on Labour, Ex-Servicemen’s and Social Issues Talks to Head of UNHCR Mission to Serbia

The Chairman of the Committee on Labour, Ex-Servicemen’s and Social Issues of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, Meho Omerovic, met today with the Head of the Mission to Serbia of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Lennart Kotsalainen.



The Chairman of the Committee on Labour, Ex-Servicemen’s and Social Issues of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, Meho Omerovic, met today with the Head of the Mission to Serbia of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Lennart Kotsalainen. They talked about measures for providing for and dealing more expediently with the status and many other issues concerning refugees, internally displaced persons, returnees and Roma.

The Head of the UNHCR Office expressed his observations that the best inter-ministerial cooperation in the very approach to and organisation of work with the aforementioned group of people has not been established, also mentioning the absence of suitable coordination between the republic and municipal level of government. He stressed as particularly disturbing the fact that out of the planned 10 million euros from the European Union’s programme for displaced persons in Serbia for 2008, only 4.2 million euros have been approved.

He stated that the Serbian Government and relevant ministries must apply with clear, substantial programmes unambiguously demonstrating the state’s determination to find a long-term solution of the refugee and displaced persons’ issues. He suggested that a public hearing on the subject be organised at the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, by the relevant Assembly Committees in cooperation with UNHCR and UNDP, to be attended by the ministers of relevant ministries, the Director of the Commissioner’s Office and other experts from the government and non-government sector.

Committee Chairman, Meho Omerovic, thanked Mr Kotsalainen and UNHCR for their eagerness to help in dealing with the existential, human and citizens’ rights of the people who have been living in poverty and isolation for years. At several sittings, the Committee on Labour, Ex-Servicemen’s and Social Issues discussed the reports of relevant ministries and other state organs about the position of and measures for providing for refugees, internally displaced persons, returnees and Roma. Committee Chairman, Meho Omerovic, agreed with Mr Kotsalainen’s observation on the lack of coordinated ministerial cooperation.

It was agreed that at the very beginning of regular Assembly sessions a roundtable be organised presenting reports on results so far, planned activities and expected effects. Specific forms of work coordination, control and reporting will be determined at the meeting. The final goal is the preparation of real, substantial programmes and projects which can, with international financial aid, produce a long-term and lasting solution of all problems the aforementioned groups face every day.



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