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UNHCR concerned at border rejection of returnees to FYR of Macedonia

UNHCR concerned at border rejection of returnees to FYR of Macedonia

The United Nations refugee agency today expressed "increasing concern" at the continuing rejection by border officials of people returning without valid passports from Kosovo to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Eric Morris, special envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) stated in Pristina today that the agency "continues to raise the issue in Skopje, but under the prevailing circumstances it has not yet been possible to receive a clear answer." He added, "it is precisely those issues of citizenship and proper documentation that need to be resolved in the FYR of Macedonia very very quickly."

Meanwhile, a UNHCR spokesman said in Pristina that the number of people returning to the FYR of Macedonia had been decreasing over the past days, with some 500 people a day currently returning. "UNHCR roughly estimates that around 10,000 people have returned, all and only those with valid passports," Astrid van Genderen Stort said. Most of the returns were to the Macedonian capital of Skopje, she said, while "very minimal movement" had been observed at the Kumanovo and Tetovo areas.

In a separate development, UNHCR facilitated yesterday the return of 210 internally displaced Albanians to their home village in Depce, Presevo Municipality.