Serbia has highest number of refugees in Europe

BELGRADE -- Serbia marks June 20, World Refugee Day as "first in Europe and one of five countries in the world with protracted refugee situation," Tanjug says.

Nebojša Stefanović (Tanjug)
Nebojša Stefanović (Tanjug)

Serbian Parliament Speaker Nebojša Stefanović said that parliament may soon discuss the draft resolution on refugee issues.

"We believe that this is one of the crucial values that we have to advocate particularly in the EU integration process,” Stefanović said after Wednesday's meeting with representatives of refugee associations.

June 20 was declared World Refugee Day based on the United National General Assembly Resolution adopted in 2000.

According to the data of the Serbian Commissariat for Refugees, up to 1995 Serbia received 618,000 refugees from former Yugoslav republics (266,000 refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina and 330,000 from Croatia).

According to the official data, a total of 140,000 refugees returned to the countries of their origin (70,000 to Bosnia-Herzegovina and 70,000 to Croatia).

Hundreds of thousands of refugees, expelled and internally displaced persons were granted the Serbian citizenship, but war-affected persons have not resolved numerous issues relating to property and other aspects of life.

Therefore, in 2008 the United Nations High Commission for Refugees included Serbia among the five world countries with protracted refugee crisis, whose resolution calls for a joint action and cooperation between the countries in the region with the support of the international community.