Mon-61 Contribution to Housing Construction in Pursuit of local Refugee Integration
U(nited Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
:: REALISATION / BUDGET
01.01.2009 to 31.12.2009; € 112,800.00
:: SHORT DESCRIPTION
During the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia, Montenegro set an example when it provided refuge within its borders to persons in need of international protection. Since 1992, UNHCR has been funding a local shelter project in Montenegro in order to provide emergency accommodation in the initial phases of influxes from Croatia, BH and Kosovo, rehabilitation and maintenance of collective accommodation facilities, construction of family settlements and assistance to ref/DPs constructing their own individual housing.
Today, more than seventeen years later, Montenegro is still home to 8,529 refugees from BH and Croatia and 16,210 refugees from Kosovo, and at this point, voluntary repatriation is no longer a realistic option for the majority of refugees who remain on the Montenegrin territory, as most of them opted for local integration.
Following the Sarajevo Declaration, Montenegro committed to facilitating the local integration of refugees from Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina by adopting a “Strategy for Resolving the Issues of Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons in Montenegro, 2005.” Unfortunately the Strategy did not get the expected international funding and support, mainly because it lacked provisions that would allow for proper legal integration, and the timeframe elapsed without producing the sought-after results.
In addition to proper legal status, which would enable refugees full access to basic rights, including health care, social welfare, employment, education opportunities and property ownership; equally important pre-condition for successful integration and one of the most acute needs among refugee population remains to be the adequate individual housing. The only remaining official collective centre funded by UNHCR has been closed in 2008. The vast majority of refugees continue to live in sub-standard dwellings, strive with rental payments in private accommodation, and fear eviction from informal collective centers that they illegally occupy.
The Law on Employment of Aliens was adopted in March 2008 and is implemented as from January 2009. Under this new law, both the post-Dayton and Kosovo refugees will de-facto fall under a pre-defined stringent foreign workers quota, which will further limit their access to gainful employment.
During the last decade no systematic social housing schemes and activities were pursed in Montenegro by the Government, due to economic changes and privatisation process, and at the moment there is no state social housing policy or programme that even the most vulnerable refugees could benefit from.
UNHCR and HELP have been successful over the years in advocating for and implementing bi-lateral funding for refugee housing, through social apartments construction for most vulnerable refugees and through delivery of building materials to refugee families who own a plot of land and can manage construction works themselves.
In 2009 HELP will be applying for IPA 2008 funding for refugee shelter activities, targeting municipalities of Bar, Plav and Herceg Novi who have allocated land for construction of housing units for refugees.
This sub-project is a continuation of UNHCR and HELP partnership in mobilizing complementary international funding for housing component of local integration activities in Montenegro. UNHCR will continue providing matching funding and operational support to HELP through co-funding for staff and shelter activities.