H I S T O R Y
History After the 1999 conflict and the establishment of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), a massive return of Albanians to Kosovo occurred, but at the same time an exodus of Serbs and other non-Albanian populations from urban and other refugees escaped both in surrounding countries in the region and elsewhere in Kosovo. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in cooperation with the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration of the Republic of Serbia, in 2000 and 2005 registered 209,021 persons from Kosovo.
UNMIK seeks to facilitate returns through the promotion and protection of community rights by establishing a special ministry to which it assigns a department of return and community. The Ministry of Communities and Returns was established on 24 January 2005 pursuant to UNMIK Regulation No. 2004/50. At that time, the newly formed ministry was taking over some of the responsibilities of the Office of Communities, which functioned and still exists within the Office of the Prime Minister. Following Kosovo's declaration of independence on February 17, 2008, the Ministry of Communities and Returns continues to exist with the aim of effectively promoting and protecting the rights of communities and their members, including the right to return. The right to a safe and dignified return of internally displaced persons and refugees, as well as the obligation to enable these persons to recover property and personal belongings, is also guaranteed by the current Constitution of Kosovo (Article 1g).
Unlike the massive return of Albanians to Kosovo in the first years after the 1999 conflict, there is no massive return of non-Albanian populations, and above all Serbs. The number of returnees from non-Albanian communities (Serbs, Ashkali, Egyptians, Roma, Gorani, Bosniaks, and others) has reached 28,000 today (UNHCR data). The reasons for the poor return are many. Immediately after the 1999 conflict ended, the security situation and freedom of movement for the non-Albanian population, but later with the evident improvement of the security situation and freedom of movement, there were other unresolved issues such as usurped property, loss of jobs and unemployment, undeveloped infrastructure in returnees places, insufficient reintegration into society and other problems that have affected both the return of displaced persons and the survival of returnees in Kosovo.