Last Updated: Monday, 30 May 2016, 07:59 GMT

Internal Displacement: Global Overview of Trends and Developments in 2009 - Croatia

Publisher Norwegian Refugee Council/Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (NRC/IDMC)
Publication Date 17 May 2010
Cite as Norwegian Refugee Council/Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (NRC/IDMC), Internal Displacement: Global Overview of Trends and Developments in 2009 - Croatia, 17 May 2010, available at: [accessed 30 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
Quick facts
Number of IDPs2,400
Percentage of total population0.1%
Start of current displacement situation1991
Peak number of IDPs (Year)550,000 (1991)
New displacementUndetermined
Causes of displacementInternationalised and internal armed conflict, generalised violence, human rights violations
Human development index45

Between 1991 and 1995, 220,000 ethnic Croats and subsequently up to 300,000 ethnic Serbs were displaced by armed conflict in Croatia. Since then almost all the Croat IDPs have returned to their homes, while most of the displaced Serbs have resettled in Serbia or in the majority-Serb Danube region of Croatia. In June 2009, 2,400 people remained displaced in Croatia, two thirds of them ethnic Serbs in the Danube region, and their numbers continued to fall slowly as a result of property restitution or reconstruction. Since the end of the conflict, only one third of Croatian Serb IDPs and refugees have been able to return, and in the first half of 2009 only 95 IDPs returned, mostly ethnic Croats. It is estimated that only half of returns have proved sustainable; the main obstacles to minority returns have been the failure to punish perpetrators of war crimes, to restitute people's former occupancy rights or provide compensation, and also the difficulties they have faced in rebuilding livelihoods.

Contrary to the practice in other Balkan countries, Croatia refused to allow restitution of flats held under occupancy rights, and former holders of such rights are only entitled to limited and delayed benefits from a housing care scheme. Only a minority of nearly 14,000 people who have claimed housing care have been successful.

The national authorities have made progress since 2000, under European Union pressure. They have adopted legislation ensuring participation of people in a minority situation, restitution of property and reconstruction of destroyed properties, and have reviewed cases involving Serbs arrested or convicted for war crimes. However, implementation has been slow due to the complexity of the legal framework and the discriminatory attitude of administrative and judicial bodies.

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