Last Updated: Friday, 19 January 2018, 17:46 GMT

Global Overview 2011: People internally displaced by conflict and violence - Kosovo

Publisher Norwegian Refugee Council/Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (NRC/IDMC)
Publication Date 19 April 2012
Cite as Norwegian Refugee Council/Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (NRC/IDMC), Global Overview 2011: People internally displaced by conflict and violence - Kosovo, 19 April 2012, available at: [accessed 19 January 2018]
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 IDPs18,000
Percentage of total population0.9%
Start of current displacement situation1999
Start of current displacement situation1999
Peak number of IDPs (Year)36,000 (2000)
New displacement0
Causes of displacementArmed conflict, generalised violence, human rights violations
Human development index

In 1999, over 245,000 Kosovo Serbs and Roma, Ashkali or Egyptian (RAE) people fled into Serbia proper or within Kosovo in fear of reprisals after NATO air strikes forced the withdrawal of Yugoslav troops. At the end of 2011, there were still 18,000 IDPs in Kosovo. Slightly over half were Kosovo Serbs, around 40 per cent Kosovo Albanians, and six per cent from RAE communities. Most Kosovo Serb IDPs were in northern Kosovo, relying on a parallel system of education, policing and health care supported by Serbia. Other IDPs remained in small areas where their ethnic group was in a majority, but where they had limited freedom of movement and little access to land or livelihoods.

Over 1,000 IDPs were still in collective centres at the end of 2011. Many of them were particularly vulnerable; a high proportion were older people. They were still living in very harsh conditions and received only minimal assistance.

IDPs belonging to RAE communities were the most marginalised. Those without civil documentation could not register as IDPs and so could not access housing assistance and other benefits. In 2011, many were still in informal settlements without electricity, clean water or sewerage.

12 years after their displacement, only a little over 4,000 IDPs had returned to their places of origin from within Kosovo, and only 18,000 people from elsewhere in the region.

Since Kosovo's declaration of independence in 2008, there has been no new displacement, and although Serbia continues not to recognise the independence, in 2011 an EU-facilitated dialogue between Kosovo authorities and the government of Serbia led to agreements on issues including land records and freedom of movement. Both the Serbian and Kosovo authorities have supported the construction of homes and social housing to facilitate the local integration of IDPs. Nonetheless, the Kosovo institutions have failed to devote the resources needed to enable durable solutions for IDPs, for instance by considerably reducing the budget dedicated to voluntary return.

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