The Montenegrin government, the Red Cross and the OSCE have signed a cooperation agreement to help refugees in the country, and urged the countries of origin to assist them.
The cooperation agreement signed on Friday between the Montenegrin Bureau for Care of Refugees, the Red Cross of Montenegro and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, OSCE, aims to help the social integration of refugees in Montenegro.
The agreement, focused particularly on refugees from Kosovo, is intended to help them resolve their legal status in the country as well as enhance their access to education, which is the first step to social inclusion, the Red Cross announced.
The Red Cross will primarily help with the education of children from Konik refugee camp, by providing them with school supplies and healthy meals, BIRN was told.
The OSCE and the Bureau for Care of Refugees will continue their cooperation by helping the refugees to acquire the necessary documents for resolving their legal status in Montenegro.
Due to the strict conditions for obtaining citizenship, most of the refugees can only be listed as foreigners in Montenegro.
In November 2011, the deadline for refugees to apply for foreigner with permanent residence status was extended until the end of this year.
The OSCE agreed to support, logistically and financially, trips to Kosovo, organized for refugees who lack documents, like birth certificates, from their country of origin.
These documents remain an important obstacle to the regulation of the refugees’ status in Montenegro.
“To obtain the status of foreigner with permanent residence, the valid documents from Kosovo municipalities are firstly required. But besides declarative messages, we don’t have any other proofs that they are willing to help”, Zeljko Sofranac, the head of the Bureau for Care of Refugees, said on Friday.
Over 4,000 of refugees have been given the status of foreigner with permanent residence in Montenegro so far. More than 3,000 applications are still being processed, while 21 applications have been rejected, the government stated in March.
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