Belgrade Beograd.jpg
Belgrade
Photograph: Photo by Dennis Jarvis, used under CC BY-SA

Serbia has 29,457 refugees on World Refugee Day, which is observed today, including 20,334 from Croatia and 9,080 from Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Refugees Commission in Belgrade said on Monday.

As a result of the 1991-95 wars, about 618,000 persons were awarded refugee status in Serbia, including 330,000 from Croatia and 266,000 from Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Commission said.

Over 203,000 persons from Kosovo displaced after 1999 are officially listed as "internally displaced" and 18,000 are listed as displaced in Kosovo.

Over the past 20 years, 144,000 refugees returned to their countries of origin, 75,000 to Bosnia and Herzegovina and 69,000 to Croatia; many have stayed in Serbia and no longer have refugee status, and big progress in dealing with refugee issues has been achieved through regional cooperation, the Commission said.

Outstanding problems include the exercise of Croatian refugees' rights in Croatia, unpaid pensions and savings, tenancy rights, failure to rebuild over 10,000 Serb houses demolished in areas which were not affected by the wars and about 8,000 in areas which were, lack of an adequate response by Croatian institutions to incidents on ethnic grounds and lack of protection of the Serbian language and script, the Commission said.

Serbia has shown humanity and respect for international standards regarding nearly 600,000 migrants from Asia and Africa who crossed its territory since mid-2015, the Commission added.

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