Internal Displacement: Global Overview of Trends and Developments in 2010 - Serbia

Quick facts
Number of IDPsAbout 225,000
Percentage of total populationAbout 3.2%
Start of current displacement situation1999
Peak number of IDPs (Year)248,000 (2004)
New displacementUndetermined
Causes of displacementArmed conflict, deliberate policy or practice of arbitrary displacement, generalised violence, human rights violations
Human development index60

In 2010, the International Court of Justice ruled that Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence did not violate international law, and at the end of the year, 75 countries had recognised Kosovo as an independent nation. References in this document to "Serbia" exclude Kosovo.

In 1999, 245,000 Kosovo Serbs and Roma people were displaced into Serbia proper or within Kosovo. As of December 2010, there were still about 225,000 IDPs from Kosovo in Serbia, including an estimated 15,000 unregistered Roma people.

11 years after their displacement, a significant number of IDPs were still facing hardship and limited access to services. Many continued to endure extreme poverty, poor health and no access to schools, in informal settlements without electricity, clean water or sewerage. Roma IDPs faced particularly deep-rooted discrimination and marginalisation. IDPs without documents faced extreme difficulties getting them replaced in order to register as an IDP and access assistance and services.

A 2010 survey revealed that almost half of IDPs were in need of assistance. Only around 17,000 IDPs had returned to Kosovo, and very few since the 2008 declaration of independence.

The Serbian government initially promoted return, but it has increasingly supported local integration. It has built alternative housing for vulnerable people in collective centres, and supported livelihoods programmes for IDPs. However, its efforts have not been part of a comprehensive strategy.

International organisations and NGOs have run a variety of projects of benefit to IDPs and particularly those in marginalised groups; UNHCR has continued to support the government's response, while European and UN bodies have continued to monitor the government's progress.


This 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.