PRESS RELEASE BY MINISTER DALIBOR JEVTIC ON THE SUBMISSION OF THE REPORT TO THE COMMISSION ON THE RIGHTS AND INTERESTS OF COMMUNITIES AND THE RETURN OF THE ASSEMBLY OF KOSOVO
Pristina, October 28, 2020
The Minister for Communities and Return, Dalibor Jevtić, attended today’s meeting of the Commission for the Rights and Interests of Communities and Return of the Assembly of Kosovo, where he presented the report on the work of the Ministry for Communities and Return in 2020 and answered questions from MPs. The Commission has 18 deputies from 12 political parties representing the interests of national communities in the Assembly of Kosovo.
During the meeting there was a lively discussion on issues that mainly preoccupy non-majority communities, returnees and displaced persons, such as: economic support to non-majority communities, representation of non-majority communities in the Ministry for Communities and Return and other public institutions, closure of collective centers, usurped property and property rights of returnees and displaced persons, integration of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians and support for their education and assistance to the vulnerable during the Kovid-19 pandemic.
Minister Jevtić informed the members of the commission about the numerous challenges regarding the return of displaced persons and on that occasion stated that he was not personally satisfied with the percentage of return. “The return and integration of displaced persons, resolving security problems and property disputes, initiating court proceedings are interrelated issues and that is why it is a matter for all institutions, not just the Ministry for Communities and Return.” “The decisive factor in that sense must not be political will, but the rule of law,” Minister Jevtic pointed out.
Of the results achieved this year, Minister Jevtic pointed out the successful start of construction of 91 houses and the ministry’s efforts to complete 101 houses for returnees and displaced persons by the end of the year, the completion of five buildings in the municipality of Strpce. Centers from this municipality, renovation of the collective center “Bergen” in the municipality of Gracanica, furnishing with furniture and appliances 65 newly built houses for returnees, awarding 100 grants for starting a business and generating income in non-majority communities, providing temporary accommodation for 51 Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian families - returnees from Northern Macedonia and Montenegro, delivery of winter food, food and hygiene packages for 872 selected vulnerable families in cooperation with municipal authorities in the most difficult moments of the corona virus pandemic in Kosovo, successful implementation of community projects in five municipalities and more. The Minister also stated that it would not be possible to achieve these results without the wholehearted support of international partners, and above all the European Union Office in Kosovo.
The members of the commission were unanimous in the positive assessment of the work of the Ministry of Communities and Returns and Minister Jevtic, emphasizing the fact that a lot has been achieved in extraordinary circumstances caused by the coronavirus pandemic and reduction of the ministry’s budget for 2020 by almost 50%. Some MPs also pointed out that it is inadmissible that 20 years after the conflict in Kosovo we have collective centers where displaced persons from Kosovo live and that they will personally advocate the idea of increasing the budget of this ministry and closing all collective centers in Kosovo.
At the end of his presentation, Minister Jevtić emphasized the need to draft a Law on the Return of Displaced Persons, which could resolve all existing disputes regarding sustainable return, integration, stabilization and development of all communities, and in that sense asked for greater support from all relevant institutions and partners including the Assembly of Kosovo.