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Macedonia/Yugoslavia: Articles relating to the treatment of ethnic Albanians from Serbia; whether the UN created camps for the refugees or whether this was handled by the Macedonian authorities (2000-2002)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 16 July 2002
Citation / Document Symbol MCD39532.E
Reference 2
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Macedonia/Yugoslavia: Articles relating to the treatment of ethnic Albanians from Serbia; whether the UN created camps for the refugees or whether this was handled by the Macedonian authorities (2000-2002), 16 July 2002, MCD39532.E, available at: [accessed 29 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.

According to the United States Committee for Refugees' (USCR) World Refugee Survey,

Conflict in southern Serbia in 2000 reportedly did not result in significant numbers of refugees crossing into Macedonia. Those who did go to Macedonia reportedly did not register as refugees but as temporary visitors (Jan. 2001).

The only articles found specifically reporting on ethnic Albanians from Serbia fleeing to Macedonia were reported during the NATO bombing campaign in 1999. Articles citing any movement of ethnic Albanians between Serbia and Macedonia after the NATO military campaign reported Albanians moving back into Kosovo in 1999 and 2000 (The Disaster Relief Website 17 June 1999; ibid. 18 Apr. 2000).

The 2000 USCR World Refugee Survey indicates that "of the 8,878 refugees from Kosovo in Macedonia at the end of 2000, more than 70 percent were members of ethnic minorities who fled reprisals from returning ethnic Albanian refugees during the second half of 1999" (Jan. 2001). The report also states that the

UNHCR also registered 802 ethnic Albanians remaining in Macedonia at the end of the year, as well as another 1,600 refugees from Kosovo whose ethnic background was unknown.

All refugees from Kosovo received temporary protection, which the Macedonian government periodically renewed, most recently until September 2001. The government reportedly did not allow recipients of temporary protection to work (ibid.).

USCR's World Refugee Survey states that during 2001, "temporary protected status ended both for ethnic Albanians from Kosovo and for ethnic Albanians from southern Serbia (2002). According to the report,

UNHCR facilitated the repatriation of 1,634 persons to Yugoslavia during the year, including 590 to Kosovo (327 RAE, 219 ethnic Albanians, and 44 members of other ethnic groups) and 1,044 to southern Serbia (780 Roma and 264 others). Other refugees returned without assistance (ibid.).

Regarding the establishment of camps in Macedonia, reports indicate that ethnic Albanian refugees gathered in a "makeshift camp known as Blace" (The Lancet 15 May 1999). They were reportedly "restricted from moving farther inland by Macedonian troops, and unable to return home because of the ethnic cleansing being perpetrated by Serb troops and police" (The Disaster Relief Website 5 Apr. 1999). A report from the US International Relations Committee stated that "it was there at Blace that at least 30,000 refugees gathered in absolute squalor, trapped between Serbian authorities that would kill them and Macedonian authorities that would not care for them" (8 Apr. 1999).

Reports indicate that Brazda refugee camp was established by NATO in response to poor living conditions in Blace (RFE/FL 14 Apr. 1999; The Disaster Relief Website 7 Apr. 1999), and administration of that camp was turned over to the UNHCR and Catholic Relief organizations (ibid. 13 May 1999).

The Lancet indicates that "the Macedonian Government has been slow to allow new camps to be constructed or existing ones to expand for fear of upsetting the country's delicate ethnic balance" (15 May 1999). The report goes on to state that "existing tensions between the country's ethnic groups have been exacerbated by the refugee crisis. Macedonians fear that if even a fraction of the refugees remain in the country, an Albanian separatist movement could ignite" (ibid.).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


The Disaster Relief Website. 18 April 2000. Cynthia Long. "More Refugees Return to a Volatile Kosovo." [Accessed 10 July 2002]

_____. 17 June 1999. Cynthia Long. "Thousands of Ethnic Albanians Pour Into Kosovo as Serbs Flee." [Accessed 10 July 2002]

_____. 13 May 1999. Cynthia Long. "Overburdened, Macedonia Buses Refugees to Albania." [Accessed 8 July 2002]

_____. 7 April 1999. Doug Rekenthaler Jr. "Macedonian Refugee Camp Abruptly Emptied; Thousands Forced Back to Kosovo." [Accessed 8 July 2002]

_____. 5 April 1999. Doug Rekenthaler Jr. "NATO Members, Relief Agencies Struggle Under Weight of Kosovo Humanitarian Disaster." [Accessed 8 July 2002]

The Lancet. 15 May 1999. Vol. 353, No. 9165. Theresa Agovino. "Caring for Ethnic Albanians in Macedonia's Refugee Camps." [Accessed 10 July 2002]

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) [Stenkovec, Macedonia]. 14 April 1999. " Macedonia: Refugee Camp Operates Like Small City." [Accessed 8 July 2002]

United States (US). 8 April 1999. International Relations Committee. U.S. House of Representatives. Washington, DC. [Accessed 10 July 2002]

United States (US). US Committee for Refugees (USCR). 2002. World Refugee Survey. "Country Reports: Macedonia". Washington, DC. [Accessed 15 July 2002]

_____. January 2001. World Refugee Survey. "Country Reports: Macedonia". Washington, DC. [Accessed 15 July 2002]

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB Databases

World News Connection (WNC)

Internet sites including:

Amnesty International

Human Rights Watch

International Committee of the Red Cross

United Nations


Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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