FM Alert, Vol. II, No. 8


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Date: Sat, 28 Feb 1998 11:37:00 -0800
From: MINELRES moderator <minelres@mailbox.riga.lv>
Subject: FM Alert, Vol. II, No. 8

From: MINELRES moderator  <minelres@mailbox.riga.lv>

Original sender: Allison Mindel  <amindel@sorosny.org>

FM Alert, Vol. II, No. 8


FM Alert, Vol. II, No. 8
23 February 1998

UNHCR AND IOM ACTIVITY IN GEORGIA

Funding shortfalls in 1997 hampered UNHCR's and IOM's ability
to implement follow-up activities in the Transcaucasian nation of
Georgia relating to the CIS conference on migration-related issues.
UNHCR sought $7.4 million for programs in Georgia in 1997, but
received only $5.9 million from donor countries, a 22 percent
shortfall. IOM, meanwhile received a mere 25 percent, or about
$500,000, of the $2 million in sought last year for programming in
Georgia. Much of UNHCR's and IOM's activities are focused on
improving the legal and institutional infrastructure for refugees and
displaced persons, as well as supporting nongovernmental
organizations (NGOs). UNHCR is seeking $10.3 million for activities
in Georgia in its 1998 appeal, including $50,000 in NGO Fund money
to assist five NGOs in Georgia. Meanwhile, IOM significantly scaled
back its funding request in 1998, seeking $800,000. As of January
1998, IOM had received $380,000 of $462,000 requested to implement
its NGO Migration Sector Development Program in all three Caucasus
countries on a May 1997 through May 1998 program cycle.
(For background consult FM Alert of January 9, 1998).

INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE PROMPTS REPEAL OF CROATIAN
PROPERTY DECREE

International pressure was a major factor in forcing the Croatian
government to repeal a decree that could have led to the displacement
of thousands of ethnic Serbs in the Eastern Slavonia region. Eastern
Slavonia, where Serbs now comprise a majority, came under Croatian
authority on January 15, 1998, after years of Serb and United Nations
control. The decree was set to enter into force on March 15,
stipulating that persons who fled the region after 1991 have a right
to return to their state-owned flats, most of which are at present
occupied by Serbs from Croatian Krajina who are unable to return.
A deadline of eight days was set for current occupants to leave. The
decree was intended to speed the return of 80,000 ethnic Croats to
Eastern Slavonia, presumably by displacing the 40,000 ethnic Serbs
unable to return to their places of origin in Krajina. Ethnic Serb
Croatian citizens displaced from their state-owned apartments in
other regions of Croatia do not enjoy the right to re-possess their flats
within eight days. The Croatian government repealed the decree
under strong pressure from the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the American ambassador to
Croatia. This episode underlines how crucial property questions are
to repatriation. It also highlights the need for a regional approach.
These issues will be scrutinized at a conference on property rights
in the former Yugoslavia, co-sponsored by the Forced Migration
Projects, the Council of Europe, Croatian Law Center and the City of
Osijek, to be held in Zagreb on February 27-28.
(For background information see FM Alert of January 23, 1998 and
December 19, 1997.)

RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT DECREES ON COMPENSATING
CHECHNYA DISPLACED GO UNENFORCED

Russian government decrees that outline compensation entitled to
those displaced by the conflict in Chechnya are not being enforced,
causing additional undue hardship for thousands of dislocated persons.
According to a panel of migration experts working under the auspices
of the Russian Security Council, the government allocated about $33
million in 1997 to address the needs of displaced persons from
Chechnya. Of that total only about 38 percent of the funds was
actually distributed during the first three quarters of 1997. Only about
1,000 families out of 30,000 on a waiting list received government
allowances, the expert panel says. The panel explains that the
compensation process is hindered by the inability of federal
authorities to compel the broad compliance of regional authorities
with appropriate procedures. Of the 66 regions of the Russian
Federation that are hosting Chechen displaced persons, 21 have not
formed the necessary government commissions to consider
applications for compensation.
(For background information see FM Alert of September 19, 1997).

----------------------------------------------------------------------
For more information contact:

Forced Migration Projects
Open Society Institute
400 West 59th Street, 4th floor
New York, NY 10019
tel: (212) 548-0655
fax: (212) 548-4676
refugee@sorosny.org
www.soros.org/migrate.html

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