Republic of Macedonia

House of Lords written question – answered at on 7 February 2012.

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Photo of Baroness Whitaker Baroness Whitaker Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the Government of the Republic of Macedonia about support and housing for Kosovo Roma refugees.

Photo of Lord Howell of Guildford Lord Howell of Guildford Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (International Energy Policy)

Our embassy in Skopje is a close partner of UNHCR (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) and other United Nations (UN) agencies within Macedonia. Our embassy has not made any formal representations to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on the Macedonian Government's commitment to provide social housing and financial assistance for temporary housing for Kosovo Roma refugees. Nor have we made any formal representations to the Macedonian Government regarding specific aspects of support for Kosovo Roma refugees.

The UNHCR in Macedonia is fully cognisant of the need to continue to work with the Macedonian Government towards achieving durable solutions for Kosovar refugees through voluntary return and local integration, in accordance with the Macedonian Government's strategy.

The European Union (EU) is also playing a role. As an EU candidate country, Macedonia is subject to annual monitoring by the European Commission to ensure that it meets the standards required for EU membership, including their compliance with EU acquis and international standards in the area of respect for and protection of minorities. The October 2011 European Commission progress report noted that in June 2011, there were 1,554 refugees and internally displaced persons in Macedonia, of whom the majority were Roma from Kosovo. From this, only 24 were recognised refugees and a long-term solution for the remainder was required. The EU progress report noted that Macedonian Government had provided some financial assistance to Roma refugees from Kosovo.

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