Commissariat for Refugees, as a separate organization within the public system, was established by the Law on Refugees ("RS Official Gazette", No. 18/92, Official newspaper of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, No. 42/02 - SUS and "RS Official Gazette", No. 30 / 10) for professional and other tasks related to the care, return and integration of refugees under this Law and the related administrative tasks.
With the adoption of the Law on migration management ("RS Official Gazette", No. 107/12), Commissariat for Refugees formed by the Law on refugees continues to work as the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration (hereinafter Commissariat), in accordance with the responsibilities set forth in this Law and other laws.
In accordance withthe Law on Refugees Commissariat perform tasks related to: recognition and cessation of refugee status; caring for refugees; registration of refugees; adjustment assistance to refugees from other agencies and organizations at home and abroad and ensuring balanced and timely assistance, provision of accommodation or settlement of refugees in the areas of local self-governments; taking measures for the return of refugees; meeting the housing needs of persons in accordance with this Law; keeping records of their responsibilities and the establishment of databases and perform other duties stipulated by this law.
In accordance with the Law on Migration Commissariat performs tasks related to: proposing to the Government about the goals and priorities of migration policy; proposing to the Government measures to achieve the positive effects of legal migration and combating illegal migration; monitoring the implementation of migration policy; providing the state government, autonomous regions and local government data relevant to the development of strategic documents in the field of migration; proposing projects in the field of migration management within the scope of their work and the preparation of the annual report to the Government on the situation in the field of migration management.
Commissariat performs tasks related to: collecting, integration and analyzing data and indicators for migration management; reporting on immigration and emigration; development and regular updating of the migration profile of the Republic of Serbia to establish a unified system for collecting, organizing and sharing information; establishing cooperation with the members of European migration network; training of persons engaged in activities relevant to migration management; ensuring the availability of information relevant to migration issues, as well as other duties specified by law.
Commissariat performs professional, administrative and technical affairs of the Commission for Missing Persons, which was established by the Government, and: lead single records of missing persons in war and in connection with the war in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1991. until 1995. and the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija from 1998. until 2000; keeps a record of exhumed, identified and unidentified human remains from individual and mass graves; issues certificates of facts contained in the official records; pays the cost of exhumation, identification, funeral equipment and transportation of identified persons remains to the burial site in the Republic of Serbia, and to the border - in case of cross-border transfer of the remains, as well as service costs of forensic experts or teams of experts appropriate forensic facility, hired for the work of the Commission for Missing Persons; pays one-time financial assistance for funeral expenses in the amount of compensation for funeral cost determined by the Law on pensions and disability insurance; awards funding for programs of missing persons families associations in accordance with the regulations governing the financing of programs of public interest implemented by the associations.
In accordance with the ratified international treaties and generally accepted rules of international law, which regulates the status and rights of refugees to care, integration or return of refugees, Commissariat initiates seeking of international assistance from the institutions of the United Nations and other international organizations.
Commissariat cooperates with the Red Cross organization, humanitarian, religious and other organizations, associations and individuals.
aw on taking care of Refugees ("RS Official Gazette", no. 20/92, 70/93, 105/93, 8/94, 22/94, 34/95 and 36/04) and the Law on solving housing needs of refugees ("RS Official Gazette" No. 47/95) regulates the manner and scope of extending assistance to refugees as well as the process of determining their status.
At the head of the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration is a commissioner, who has a deputy and two assistants.
National Strategy for Resolving the Problems of Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons, which was adopted in 2011, defines the basic goals and directions of the Commissariat for permanent solution to the refugee problem in Serbia. Working to improve conditions for the return of refugees to their country of origin and to provide the conditions for the local integration of refugees who have applied for admission or have acquired citizenship of the Republic of Serbia, there are two main, equally treated directions of a permanent solution to the refugee problem in Serbia.
Given that the international community does not treat anymore area of the former Yugoslavia as a humanitarian affected region, and as the traditional international humanitarian and international donors leave the area (or have already done so), Commissariat conducts its functional transition from humanitarian into the development phase, which should provide durable solutions for refugees, both in terms of massive and rapid return, and integration (resolving of housing and employment issues) in Serbia.
Since 1992. the Republic of Serbia and the international community have been providing assistance to refugees accommodating them in collective centers. Construction projects started as well.
Commissariat for Refugees and Migration of the Republic of Serbia from the budget and in cooperation with international agencies and organizations, the governments of some countries and local governments, has been implementing programs for durable solutions for refugees and from 2002. in accordance with the "National Strategy for Resolving the Problems of Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons" and internally displaced persons through the following projects:
- complete construction of residential units, partial construction and construction;
- purchase of village households;
- allocation of prefabricated houses;
- construction material for completion of residential properties;
- construction of social housing in protected conditions;
- adaptation and repurposing objects of collective centers in institutions for the elderly;
- renovation and expansion of social protection.
There were built 3.442 housing units for the accommodation of refugees, IDPs and vulnerable families of local people till December 2009. In addition to this number, the program SIRP (UN-HABITAT) was implemented, with 670 housing solutions and programs of housing construction, involving families of refugees who have acquired the nationality of the Republic of Serbia (apartments for disabled veterans and housing for vulnerable families), and the biggest donors are:
- Starting from 1997. from the donor program of the High Commissariat for Refugees, the United Nations, the Swiss Agency for Development and the Norwegian Council, with the participation of local governments, construction projects on the principle of full construction, partial construction and self-construction of housing units have been implemented;
- Government of Germany, through the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe and its implementing partners, the German non-governmental organizations ASB, THV and HELP, funded housing for refugees and internally displaced persons project;
- Cooperation between the Commissariat and the European Agency for Reconstruction was carried out through three projects financed by the budget of 2004/05/06;
- Through grants awarded by the Japanese government Ministry of Labour and Social Policy has started a project for construction of housing units intended for war invalids and families of soldiers killed on the battlefield. At the end of 2006. the construction of 222 housing units in 11 municipalities was announced. The program continued during 2007. Project to build 1.000 housing units financed by the Council of Europe Development Bank was planned and designed for the reintegration of refugees. The aim of the project is the provision of housing solutions to families able to work owing to granting of small loans.
The implementation of the projects started in 2009. and new projects in 2010. is in progress:
- Project support to local action plans, which are mainly financed from the budget of the Republic of Serbia;
- Project of construction of social housing in protected conditions in Pozarevac for which funds are provided from the budget of the Republic of Serbia - NIP 2009;
- Project "Support to Refugees and IDPs in Serbia", realized in 2009/10. year, and funded by the European Union - IPA 2007;
- Cooperation between UNHCR and the Commissariat on several projects, among which is the construction of the building for social housing in supportive environment implemented by the German NGO ASB;
- Project supporting the development of municipal infrastructure, financed by the European Union - Loan to housing refugees (CEB);
- IPA 2008. "Support to refugees and IDPs in Serbia", implemented during 2010. and 2011.
Upon cessation of the armed conflict and the initiation of the process of normalization in the region, the number of refugees in Serbia decreased: the census in 1996. organized by the Commissariat in cooperation with the United Nations High Commissariat for Refugees (UNHCR), registered 537.937 refugees and 79.791 war-affected persons. Five years later (2001), the Commissariat, again in collaboration with UNHCR, organized census, which registered 377.131 refugees and 74.849 war-affected persons. This number is even more reduced, so that the registration of refugees residing in the Republic of Serbia, which was conducted from the 27 of November 2004. to the 25 of January 2005. counted 141.685 refugees. Of this number for 104.246 persons refugee status was confirmed.
In June 2014. the number of refugees in Serbia amounts to 43.763.According to the estimates of the Commissariat, from the Republic of Serbia to the country of origin returned around 69.500 people to Croatia and about 79.000 to Bosnia and Herzegovina and other former Yugoslav republics. To the third countries returned around 46.000 people. It is estimated that about 40.000 people died..
Commissariat continues to recognize refugee status and the status of displaced persons to the vulnerable persons and newborn children.
INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS
In March 2000. in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissariat for Refugees (UNHCR) Commissariat organized registration of internally displaced persons from Kosovo and Metohija, when 187.129 people were registered.
In the period between 2000. and 2005. there were more than 20.000 newcomers from Kosovo, so at the end of 2005. the number of internally displaced persons in Serbia without Kosovo and Metohija was 209.021. In June 2014. this number is 204.049.
In relation to internally displaced persons Commissariat performs following:
- Registers internally displaced persons from Kosovo and Metohija and issues legitimacy of the displaced;
- Within the reception and accommodation, Commissariat places and supports IDPs in collective centers in Serbia without Kosovo and Metohija, as well as in collective centers in Kosovo and Metohija;
- Within its capabilities provides individual humanitarian assistance to internally displaced persons and their associations.
- If necessary, organize and conduct parliamentary and local elections in Kosovo for internally displaced persons, who are temporarily in the territory of the Republic of Serbia outside Kosovo (2001, 2002, 2004).
Collective centers in Kosovo and Metohija are mostly old collective centers which till 1999. housed refugees and they are now internally displaced persons from Kosovo and Metohija (so-called "internally internally displaced persons", or those persons from Kosovo who had been forced to leave their place of residence and move to other areas in Kosovo).
The adoption of the Asylum Act ("RS Official Gazette" no. 109/2007) created a prerequisite for the Republic of Serbia to join to the implementation of the policy led by European Union countries in relation to asylum seekers, which was one of the criteria in the process of accession to the European Union.
In accordance with the provisions of the Law relating to the provision of shelter and basic living conditions for asylum seekers, until a final decision on their request, Government of the Republic of Serbia has established two centers for asylum and the budget provides funds for their operation.
Centers for asylum are part of the Commissariat, as a separate organization within the meaning of the ЗPublic Administration and Law on Civil Service.
Commissariat for Refugees and Migration has strengthened the capacity, provided adequate infrastructure and the implementation of legislation in the field of asylum in accordance with international standards, provided adequate shelter and basic living conditions of asylum seekers pending a final decision on asylum application.
Agreement between Serbia and the European Union on the readmission of persons residing illegaly, which came into force on the 1 of January 2008. has regulated the procedure of return of persons who do not fulfill or no longer fulfill the conditions for entry and residence in the territory of a Contracting State.
Prevention of illegal migration and the acceptance and integration of returnees under the Readmission agreement are one of the conditions to put the Republic of Serbia on the white Schengen list.
In order to fulfill its obligations the Government of the Republic of Serbia adopted the Strategy for Reintegration of Returnees according to the Readmission Agreement on the 13 of February 2009. ("RS Official Gazette" No. 15/09). Action Plan for the implementation of Strategy for Reintegration of Returnees under the readmission agreement was adopted for the period of 2009. and 2010.
Council for Integration of Returnees under Readmission Agreement was formed on the 23 of October 2008. ("RS Official Gazette", No. 99/08). Decision of the Council established a team to implement the strategy.
According to the Strategy for Reintegration of Returnees under Readmission Agreement Commissariat for Refugees and Migration has the task to coordinate and organize primary reception and cooperation with the receiving community and is responsible for the operational implementation of the planned activities in the field, as well as for the successful reintegration of returnees and for the prevention of trafficking and promoting the principles of positive discrimination.
Reusing parts of collective centers and their adaptation to the emergency reception centers, which are regionally distributed, fulfilled the obligations under the Road Map document, to provide returnees basic living conditions for urgent care.