Introduction    Kosovo Top of Page
The central Balkans were part of the Roman and Byzantine Empires before ethnic Serbs migrated to the territories of modern Kosovo in the 7th century. During the medieval period, Kosovo became the center of a Serbian Empire and saw the construction of many important Serb religious sites, including many architecturally significant Serbian Orthodox monasteries. The defeat of Serbian forces at the Battle of Kosovo in 1389 led to five centuries of Ottoman rule during which large numbers of Turks and Albanians moved to Kosovo. By the end of the 19th century, Albanians replaced the Serbs as the dominant ethnic group in Kosovo. Serbia reacquired control over Kosovo from the Ottoman Empire during the First Balkan War of 1912. After World War II, Kosovo became an autonomous province of Serbia in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (S.F.R.Y.) with status almost equivalent to that of a republic under the 1974 S.F.R.Y. constitution. Despite legislative concessions, Albanian nationalism increased in the 1980s, which led to riots and calls for Kosovo's independence. At the same time, Serb nationalist leaders, such as Slobodan MILOSEVIC, exploited Kosovo Serb claims of maltreatment to secure votes from supporters, many of whom viewed Kosovo as their cultural heartland. Under MILOSEVIC's leadership, Serbia instituted a new constitution in 1989 that revoked Kosovo's status as an autonomous province of Serbia. Kosovo Albanian leaders responded in 1991 by organizing a referendum that declared Kosovo independent. Under MILOSEVIC, Serbia carried out repressive measures against the Albanians in the early 1990s as the unofficial Kosovo government, led by Ibrahim RUGOVA, used passive resistance in an attempt to try to gain international assistance and recognition of an independent Kosovo. Albanians dissatisfied with RUGOVA's passive strategy in the 1990s created the Kosovo Liberation Army and launched an insurgency. Starting in 1998, Serbian military, police, and paramilitary forces under MILOSEVIC conducted a brutal counterinsurgency campaign that resulted in massacres and massive expulsions of ethnic Albanians. Approximately 800,000 Albanians were forced from their homes in Kosovo during this time. International attempts to mediate the conflict failed, and MILOSEVIC's rejection of a proposed settlement led to a three-month NATO military operation against Serbia beginning in March 1999 that forced Serbia to agree to withdraw its military and police forces from Kosovo. UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999) placed Kosovo under a transitional administration, the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), pending a determination of Kosovo's future status. A UN-led process began in late 2005 to determine Kosovo's final status. The negotiations ran in stages between 2006 and 2007, but ended without agreement between Belgrade and Pristina. On 17 February 2008, the Kosovo Assembly declared Kosovo independent. Since then, over 70 countries have recognized Kosovo, and it has joined the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Serbia continues to reject Kosovo's independence and in October 2008, it sought an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the legality under international law of Kosovo's declaration of independence. The ICJ released the advisory opinion in July 2010 affirming that Kosovo's declaration of independence did not violate general principles of international law, UN Security Council Resolution 1244, or the Constitutive Framework. The opinion was closely tailored to Kosovo's unique history and circumstances.
   Geography    Kosovo Top of Page
Southeast Europe, between Serbia and Macedonia
Geographic coordinates:
42 35 N, 21 00 E
Map references:
total: 10,887 sq km
land: 10,887 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly larger than Delaware
Land boundaries:
total: 702 km
border countries: Albania 112 km, Macedonia 159 km, Montenegro 79 km, Serbia 352 km
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)
influenced by continental air masses resulting in relatively cold winters with heavy snowfall and hot, dry summers and autumns; Mediterranean and alpine influences create regional variation; maximum rainfall between October and December
flat fluvial basin with an elevation of 400-700 m above sea level surrounded by several high mountain ranges with elevations of 2,000 to 2,500 m
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Drini i Bardhe/Beli Drim 297 m (located on the border with Albania)
highest point: Gjeravica/Deravica 2,656 m
Natural resources:
coal, nickel, lead, zinc, magnesium, lignite, kaolin, chrome, bauxite, silver
Land use:
arable land: 11.4%
permanent crops: 64.6%
other: 24% (2008 est.)
Irrigated land:
12.000 hectares had functioning and an additional 15.000 hectares have been rehabilitated (2003 est.)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 0.174 cu km/yr (15%/30%/55%)(174,398,460 m3/yr (RWC company with 3,357 km pipes))
per capita: 141.479 cu m/yr (2008 est.)(based on 1,232,683 populations)
Natural hazards:
earth tremor
Environment - current issues:
Kosovo has a surface area of 10,887 square kilometres, much of which was more productive in the past. Kosovos forests have been damaged by the pressure for land and continue to be subjected to uncontrolled cutting. Thousands of hectares of woods have been cut down without being replaced. Urban waste which piled up uncontrolled has been an enormous problem for the cities (1997). Kosovo became increasingly polluted and its environment degraded since it was over dependent on mineral extraction and outdated industrial processes. For example, in 1990 the atmosphere of Mitrovica in northern Kosovo, near the smelter, (not be confused with the Mitrovica in Serbia) registered some 45,000 tons of sulphur dioxide, (which causes acid rain); 44 tons of lead; and 790 tons of other dangerous pollutants. In addition, two million tons of ash, 100,000 tons of sulphur, over 12 tons of arsenic, and 3 tons of beryllium were found. Radioactive contamination is also present in this region. It is difficult to gauge the absolute extent of the of these environmental problems, except to say that Kosovo is "significantly polluted."
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Serbia and the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo. The latter declared independence on 17 February 2008, while Serbia claims it as part of its own sovereign territory. Its independence is recognised by 85 UN member states.
   People    Kosovo Top of Page
1,825,632 (July 2011 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 27.2% (male 258,078/female 237,987)
15-64 years: 66.1% (male 630,350/female 576,946)
65 years and over: 6.7% (male 51,668/female 70,603) (2011 est.)
Median age:
total: 26.7 years
male: 26.3 years
female: 27.2 years (2011 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.55% (2010)
Birth rate:
19.3% births/1,000 population (2008)
Death rate:
7.0% deaths/1,000 population (2008)
Net migration rate:
-6 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010)
urban population: 35% of total population (2003)
rate of urbanization: 0.7% annual rate of change (2011 est.)
Major cities - population:
PRISHTINA (capital) 500,000 (2011)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.085 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.09 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.09 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.74 male(s)/female
total population: 1.06 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
Maternal mortality rate:
7 deaths/100,000 live births (2005)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 23.7 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 23.7 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 23.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 68.8 years
male: 67.8 years
female: 69.9 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2.03 children born/women (2009)
Health expenditures:
3.1% of GDP (2007 est.)
Physicians density:
0.945 physicians/1,000 population (1984)
Hospital bed density:
0.236 beds/1,000 population (1983)
Drinking water source:

urban: 87% of population
rural: 8.4% of population
total: 50% of population (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.1% (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
37 (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
4 (2004 est.)
noun: Kosovar (Albanian), Kosovac (Serbian)
adjective: Kosovar (Albanian), Kosovski (Serbian)
note: Kosovan, a neutral term, is sometimes also used as a noun or adjective
Ethnic groups:
Albanians 92%, other (Serb, Bosniak, Gorani, Roma, Turk, Ashkali, Egyptian) 8% (2008)
Muslim, Serbian Orthodox, Roman Catholic
Albanian (official), Serbian (official), Bosnian, Turkish, Roma
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 91.9%
male: 96.6%
female: 87.5% (2007 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 7-15 year enrolled in primary school for 12 years (96% of children)
male: 7-15 year enrolled in primary school for 12 years
female: 7-15 year enrolled in primary school for 12 years (2003 est.)
Education expenditures:
4.3% of GDP (2008)
   Government    Kosovo Top of Page
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Kosovo
conventional short form: Kosovo
local long form: Republika e Kosoves (Republika Kosovo)
local short form: Kosova (Kosovo)
Government type:
name: Pristina (Prishtine, Prishtina)
geographic coordinates: 42 40 N, 21 10 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions:

37 municipalities (komunat, singular - komuna in Albanian; opstine, singular - opstina in Serbian); Decan (Decani), Dragash (Dragas), Ferizaj (Urosevac), Fushe Kosove (Kosovo Polje), Gjakove (Dakovica), Gjilan (Gnjilane), Gllogovc/Drenas (Glogovac), Gracanice (Gracanica), Hani i Elezit (Deneral Jankovic), Istog (Istok), Junik, Kacanik, Kamenice/Dardana (Kamenica), Kline (Klina), Kllokot-Verboc (Klokot-Vrbovac), Leposaviq (Leposavic), Lipjan (Lipljan), Malisheve (Malisevo), Mamushe (Mamusa), Mitrovice (Mitrovica), Novoberde (Novo Brdo), Obiliq (Obilic), Partesh (Partes), Peje (Pec), Podujeve (Podujevo), Prishtine (Pristina), Prizren, Rahovec (Orahovac), Ranillug (Ranilug), Shterpce (Strpce), Shtime (Stimlje), Skenderaj (Srbica), Suhareke (Suva Reka), Viti (Vitina), Vushtrri (Vucitrn), Zubin Potok, Zvecan
note - the Government of Kosovo has announced that the current Mitrovice (Mitrovica) municipality is to be split into Mitrovice (Mitrovica) North and Mitrovice (Mitrovica) South
17 February 2008 (from Serbia)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 17 February (2008)
adopted by the Kosovo Assembly 9 April 2008; effective 15 June 2008
Legal system:
evolving legal system; mixture of applicable Kosovo law, UNMIK laws and regulations, and applicable laws of the Former Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia that were in effect in Kosovo as of 22 March 1989
International law organization participation:
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Atifete JAHJAGA (since 7 April 2011);
head of government: Prime Minister Hashim THACI (since 9 January 2008)
cabinet: ministers; elected by the Kosovo Assembly
(For more information visit the World Leaders website )
elections: the president is elected for a five-year term by the Kosovo Assembly; election last held on 7 April 2011; note - the prime minister elected by the Kosovo Assembly
election results: Atifete JAHJAGA elected in one round (JAHJAGA 80, Suzana NOVOBERDALIU 10); Hashim THACI elected prime minister by the Assembly
Legislative branch:
unicameral national Assembly (120 seats; 100 seats directly elected, 10 seats guaranteed for ethnic Serbs, 10 seats guaranteed for other ethnic minorities; members to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held on 12 December 2010 with runoff elections in a few municipalities in January 2011 (next expected to be held in 2015)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; note - 2010 extraordinary assembly election results were announced by the Central Elections Commission 30 January 2011; certification of the results was still pending as of 31 January
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court; Appellate Court; basic courts; Constitutional Court
note: the Law on Courts, which went into effect on 1 January 2011, provided for a reorganization of the court system; the Kosovo Constitution dictates that the Supreme Court of Kosovo is the highest judicial authority, and provides for a Kosovo Judicial Council (KJC) that proposes to the president candidates for appointment or reappointment as judges and prosecutors; the KJC is also responsible for decisions on the promotion and transfer of judges and disciplinary proceedings against judges; at least 15 percent of Supreme Court and district court judges shall be from non-majority communities
Political parties and leaders:
Albanian Christian Democratic Party of Kosovo or PShDK [Marjan DEMAJ]; Alliance for a New Kosovo or AKR [Behgjet PACOLLI]; Alliance for the Future of Kosovo or AAK [Ramush HARADINAJ]; Alliance of Independent Social Democrats of Kosovo and Metohija or SDSKIM [Ljubisa ZIVIC]; Bosniak Vakat Coalition or DSV [Sadik IDRIZI]; Citizens' Initiative of Gora or GIG [Murselj HALJILJI]; Democratic Action Party or SDA [Numan BALIC]; Democratic League of Dardania or LDD [Nexhat DACI]; Democratic League of Kosovo or LDK [Isa MUSTAFA]; Democratic Party of Ashkali of Kosovo or PDAK [Berat QERIMI]; Democratic Party of Bosniaks [Dzezair MURATI]; Democratic Party of Kosovo or PDK [Hashim THACI]; Independent Liberal Party or SLS [Slobadan PETROVIC]; Kosovo Democratic Turkish Party of KDTP [Mahir YAGCILAR]; Movement for Self-Determination (Vetevendosje) [Albin KKURTI]; New Democratic Initiative of Kosovo or IRDK [Xhevdet NEZIRAJ]; New Democratic Party or ND [Predrag JOVIC]; New Spirit or FER [Shpend AHMETI]; Serb National Party or SNS [Mihailo SCEPANOVIC]; Serbian Democratic Party of Kosovo and Metohija or SDS KiM [Slavisa PETKOVIC]; Serbian Kosovo and Metohija Party or SKMS [Dragisa MIRIC]; Serbian National Council of Northern Kosovo and Metohija or SNV [Milan IVANOVIC]; Social Democratic Party of Kosovo or PSDK [Agim CEKU]; Socialist Party of Kosovo or PSK [Emrush XHEMAJLI]; United Roma Party of Kosovo or PREBK [Ilaz KADOLLI]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Council for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedom (human rights); Organization for Democracy, Anti-Corruption and Dignity Rise! [Avni ZOGIANI]; Serb National Council (SNV); The Speak Up Movement [Ramadan ILAZI]
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Avni SPAHIU
chancery: 1101 30th Street NW, Suites 330/340, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: 202-380-3581
FAX: 202-380-3628
consulate(s) general: New York
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Christopher William DELL
embassy: Arberia/Dragodan, Nazim Hikmet 30, Pristina, Kosovo
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [381] 38 59 59 3000
FAX: [381] 38 549 890
Flag description:
centered on a dark blue field is the geographical shape of Kosovo in a gold color surmounted by six white, five-pointed stars arrayed in a slight arc; each star represents one of the major ethnic groups of Kosovo: Albanians, Serbs, Turks, Gorani, Roma, and Bosniaks
National anthem:

name: "Europe"
lyrics/music: none/Mendi MENGJIQI
note: adopted 2008; Kosovo chose to not include lyrics in its anthem so as not to offend minority ethnic groups in the country
   Economy    Kosovo Top of Page
Economy - overview:
Over the past few years Kosovo's economy has shown significant progress in transitioning to a market-based system and maintaining macroeconomic stability, but it is still highly dependent on the international community and the diaspora for financial and technical assistance. Remittances from the diaspora - located mainly in Germany, Switzerland, and the Nordic countries - are estimated to account for about 13-15% of GDP, and donor-financed activities and aid for another 7.5%. Kosovo's citizens are the poorest in Europe with an average annual per capita income of only $2,800. Unemployment, around 40% of the population, is a significant problem that encourages outward migration and black market activity. Most of Kosovo's population lives in rural towns outside of the capital, Pristina. Inefficient, near-subsistence farming is common - the result of small plots, limited mechanization, and lack of technical expertise. With international assistance, Kosovo has been able to privatize 50% of its state-owned enterprises (SOEs) by number, and over 90% of SOEs by value. Minerals and metals - including lignite, lead, zinc, nickel, chrome, aluminum, magnesium, and a wide variety of construction materials - once formed the backbone of industry, but output has declined because of ageing equipment and insufficient investment. A limited and unreliable electricity supply due to technical and financial problems is a major impediment to economic development, but Kosovo has received technical assistance to help improve accounting and controls. The US Government is cooperating with the Ministry for Energy and Mines and the World Bank to prepare a commercial tender for a project to include construction of a new power plant and the development of a coal mine to supply the new power plant as well as two existing plants. Privatization of the distribution and supply divisions of Kosovo Energy Corporation is also planned. The official currency of Kosovo is the euro, but the Serbian dinar is also used in Serb enclaves. Kosovo's tie to the euro has helped keep core inflation low. Kosovo has one of the most open economies in the region, and continues to work with the international community on measures to improve the business environment and attract foreign investment. Kosovo has maintained a budget surplus as a result of efficient value added tax (VAT) collection at the borders and inefficient budget execution. In order to help integrate Kosovo into regional economic structures, UNMIK signed (on behalf of Kosovo) its accession to the Central Europe Free Trade Area (CEFTA) in 2006. However, Serbia and Bosnia have refused to recognize Kosovo's customs stamp or extend reduced tariff privileges for Kosovo products under CEFTA. In July 2008, Kosovo received pledges of $1.9 billion from 37 countries in support of its reform priorities. In June 2009, Kosovo joined the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, and Kosovo began servicing its share of the former Yugoslavia's debt.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$11.97 billion (2010 est.)
$11.51 billion (2009 est.)
$11.19 billion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate):
$5.601 billion (2010 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
4% (2010 est.)
2.9% (2009 est.)
6.9% (2008 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$6,600 (2010 est.)
$6,400 (2009 est.)
$5,300 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 12.9%
industry: 22.6%
services: 64.5% (2009 est.)
Labor force:
310,000 (2009 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 23.6%
industry: NA
services: NA (2010)
Unemployment rate:
45% (2009)
Population below poverty line:
30% (2010 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
30 (FY05/06)
Investment (gross fixed):
35% of GDP (2010 est.)
revenues: $1.458 billion
expenditures: $1.581 billion (2010 est.)
Taxes and other revenues:
26% of GDP (2010 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
-2.2% of GDP (2010 est.)
Public debt:
NA% of GDP (2010) 7% of GDP (2009 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.5% (2010 est.)
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
14.31% (31 December 2010 est.) 14.09% (31 December 2009 est.)
Agriculture - products:
wheat, corn, berries, potatoes, peppers
mineral mining, construction materials, base metals, leather, machinery, appliances
Industrial production growth rate:
(growth forecasts for the coming five years range from -1.6% to +3.0%, depending on the year.)
Electricity - production:
4.777 billion kWh (2009)
Electricity - consumption:
5.388 billion kWh (2009)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2007)
Oil - consumption:
NA bbl/day
Oil - proved reserves:
NA bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2007)
Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2007)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
NA cu m
Current account balance:
-$2.716 billion (2010 est.) -$2.408 billion (2009 est.)
$527 million (2007 est.) (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities:
mining and processed metal products, scrap metals, leather products, machinery, appliances
Exports - partners:
Bosnia and Herzegovina 13.1%, Italy 10.9%, Germany 9.9%, Austria 5.4%, Slovenia 5.4%, Macedonia, The Former Yugo Rep of 5.1%, Russia 4.6%, Hungary 4.3% (2009)
$2.6 billion (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities:
foodstuffs, wood, petroleum, chemicals, machinery and electrical equipment
Imports - partners:
Germany 12.2%, Italy 9.5%, Hungary 6.8%, Slovenia 6.6%, Austria 4.9%, Romania 4% (2009)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
Debt - external:
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$21.2 billion (31 December 2010 est.) $21.32 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
Exchange rates:
euros (EUR) per US dollar -0.755 (2010), 0.7198 (2009), 0.6827 (2008), 0.7345 (2007)
   Communications    Kosovo Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
106,300 (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
562,000 (2007)
Telephone system:
general assessment: Kosovo has two mobile telephony operators, with over 200 million Euro investment by the Slovenian Telecom for one of them.
domestic: The state-owned mobile telephony operator VALA with over 850,000 users will be available for privatization soon.
international: country code (+381) - 38 (Pristina), 28 (Mitrovica)
Radio broadcast stations:
-Kosovo Radio-Television (RTK) - public, operates Radio Kosova and former UN multi-ethnic station Radio Blue Sky -Radio 21 - private -Radio Dukagjini - popular private music-based station -Radio K4 - private, youth-oriented
Television broadcast stations:
kosovo radio-television (RTK/public), TV21 (private), kohavision(KTV/private)
News agencies/internet:
-KosovaLive - private, English-language pages -Kosovapress - private, English-language pages -New Kosova Report - English-language news site
The press:
-Koha Ditore (The Daily Times) - daily -Bota Sot (The World Today) - daily -Kosova Sot (Kosovo Today) - daily -Zeri (The Voice) - daily -Lajm (News) - daily -Gazeta Express - daily
Internet country code:
Internet users:
Post and Telecom Kosovo (PTK) 35,000 , IPKO (company) 230,000 , KUJTESA (company) 100,000
   Transportation    Kosovo Top of Page
8 (2010)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
under 914 m: 2 (2010)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 4
under 914 m: 4 (2010)
2 (2010)
total: 430 km
standard gauge: 430 km 1.435-m gauge (2007)
total: 1,926 km
paved: 1,668 km
unpaved: 258 km (2009)
The Sitnica - Ibar watershed (between Kosovo and Serbia), The Drin/Drim river (between Kosovo and Albania)
   Military    Kosovo Top of Page
Military branches:
Kosovo Security Force (2010)
Military service age and obligation:
In March 2008, the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) and the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC) started preparations for the formation of the Kosovo Security Force. According to guidance laid out in the Ahtisaari Plan, the security force is permitted to carry light weapons and the Government of Kosovo and the international community planned to bring the force in line with NATO standards. The plan envisages that the security force be comprised of 2,500 active soldiers and 800 reservists at age 19-35.The admission and the training of personnel began in early June, when NATO experts arrived in Kosovo to guide the process.From early December 2008, enlisting began for the Kosovo Security Force. The age of candidates is 18-30 years old.
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 430,926
females age 16-49: 389,614 (2010 est.)
Military expenditures:
0.1% of GDP (2007 est.)
   Transnational Issues    Kosovo Top of Page
Serbia with several other states protest the US and other states' recognition of Kosovo's declaring itself as a sovereign and independent state in February 2008; ethnic Serbian municipalities along Kosovo's northern border challenge final status of Kosovo-Serbia boundary; several thousand NATO-led KFOR peacekeepers under UNMIK authority continue to keep the peace within Kosovo between the ethnic Albanian majority and the Serb minority in Kosovo; Kosovo and Macedonia completed demarcation of their boundary in September 2008
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
UNHCR presence in kosovo began in 1992 in response to the conflicts in Bosnia & Herzegovina and Croatia, assisting refugees who fled to the province seeking protection and humanitarian aid. in the wake of the 1998-99 conflict, UNHCR mandate was broadened to assist internally displaced persons (IDPs) and returnees. In addition to its traditional mandate deriving from the 1951 convention related to the status of refugees, UNHCR Kosovo, through the united nations security council resolution (UNSCR) 1244 (1999), performs a specific mandate to assure the safe and unimpeded return of all refugees and displaced persons to their homes in Kosovo. More than a decade after the conflict, it is estimated some 200,000 persons from Kosovo remain displaced in the region and another 18,000 are displaced within Kosovo. Since 2000, more than 22,000 persons have returned voluntarily. UNHCR supports the authorities in coordinating all returns-related functions, while ensuring international protection standards are met through human rights monitoring, participatory assessment exercises and outreach activities. UNHCR Kosovo also assists refugees, idps and returnees by providing legal aid, essential domestic items and advocacy and monitoring. Durable solutions are sought for the protracted Bosnia & Herzegovina (BIH)/Croatia refugees. UNHCR Kosovo supports the development of the legislative and administrative framework in the areas of concern to unhcr as well as strengthens the capacity of the central and municipal authorities to develop and implement a protection regime that meets international and regional human rights standards. UNHCR currently operates in all five regions of Kosovo.
Illicit drugs:

Persons violating Kosovo laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Kosovo are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin moving to Western Europe on the Balkan route; economy vulnerable to money laundering

This page was last updated on 14 May 2009


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