08 Oct 14
Montenegro Gets 10 Million Euro to House Refugees
The Council of Europe Development Bank will provide funds to help Montenegro build houses for wartime refugees who have been in temporary accommodation for over 15 years.
The Konik refugee camp in Podgorica.
Montenegro’s labour minister Predrag Boskovic and Council of Europe Development Bank official Stephen Sellen on Tuesday signed grant agreements for two housing projects worth 9.9 million euros, as the country seeks to solve the problem of providing proper homes for thousands of long-term refugees from the Yugoslav wars.
The two new projects will provide permanent accomodtation for more than 120 refugee families in the capital Podgorica and another 68 elderly people in the municipality of Pljevlja.
Boskovic said that the government had made extensive efforts to permanently resolve the issue of displaced people “who enjoy all the rights that other Montenegrin citizens do”, except the right to vote.
“The government is dealing with the housing issues of 6,063 people, around 1,177 households, who are the most vulnerable refugees,” he said.
Boskovic added that the authorities intended to finally tackle the issue of rundown temporary accommodation buildings for refugees, known as ‘collective centres’.
“We wish to permanently end the existence of collective centres,” he said.
Improving the status of refugees in the country is one of the conditions for Montenegro’s EU accession.
According to government data from December 2012, around 16,000 wartime refugees from Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo live in Montenegro. Around 11,000 are from Kosovo. Over 3,000 are Roma living in the Konik refugee camp on the outskirts of Podgorica.
Last year, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, an advisory human rights body to the Council of Europe, described conditions in the Konik camp as “inhumane and hazardous”.
The government has applied for funds for two more refugee housing projects – the construction of 94 apartments in the municipality of Berane and 32 apartments in Herceg Novi.
In June, it launched a programme for rehousing displaced people, which envisages the construction of at least 900 housing units over the next three years, with foreign donor support.
It is estimated that the programme will cost about 27 million euro. The government will cover about 15 per cent of the funds.
Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)