memorandum by Mr Rouquet, rapporteur
Collective centres are “pre-existing buildings and
structures used for the collective and communal settlement of the
displaced population in the event of conflict or natural disaster”.Note
Even though there
is no recognised definition of “collective centres”, the above-mentioned
applies in almost all cases. Types of buildings and structures used
as evacuation centres may include schools, hotels, community centres,
town halls, hotels, sport infrastructures, hospitals, religious
monuments, police stations, military barracks, warehouses, disused
factories and unfinished buildings.
2. These collective centres were first set up in the 1990s in
the wake of the conflicts in the Balkans and the Caucasus. They
were intended to provide temporary shelter to displaced populations
but, regrettably, more than 15 years after those conflicts, many
refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) are still living
in these provisional accommodation facilities.
International law provides only a limited framework on the
issue. Unlike in the case of refugees, no international treaty applies
specifically to IDPs. No single institutional entity has been entrusted
with an exclusive responsibility of protecting and assisting IDPs.
In order to fill this normative and institutional gap, the post
of Representative of the United Nations Secretary General on internally
displaced persons was created in 1992,Note
a set of Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement was adopted
in 1998. Despite the non-binding nature of those principles, they
have been recognised as authoritative instruments on the human rights of
4. The Committee of Ministers, prompted by the Parliamentary
Assembly’s Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons,
has also stressed its “commitment to the spirit and provisions of
the United Nations guiding principles and its willingness to implement
them in the member States’ national legislation and policy” in its
Recommendation Rec(2006)6 on internally displaced persons.
Since 2010, the Council of Europe Development Bank has been
involved in a regional initiative aimed at providing the most vulnerable
refugees and IDPs with durable housing solutions. This initiative,
known as the “Regional Housing Programme” (RHP), covers Bosnia and
Herzegovina (BiH), Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia and should benefit
some 74 000 people.NoteNote
6. The programme is an integral component of the “Sarajevo process
on refugees and displaced persons” initiated in 2005 and relaunched
in March 2010 at the Belgrade Conference. A donors’ conference was
held in Sarajevo in April 2012 to raise funds, with almost €230 million
being pledged by the European Commission and US$10 million by the
7. The present report aims to review the situation of collective
centres in Europe, in order to gain a clear and accurate picture
of the living conditions of IDPs and refugees and then to put forward
acceptable solutions. In addition to possible alternatives, the
report will consider the possibilities for funding and subsequent monitoring
of the measures taken.
8. While I am aware that many IDPs also live in private accommodation
(renting, owning), where conditions can be just as bad as or worse
than in collective centres, this issue falls outside the scope of
this report. I therefore acknowledge that solving the problem of
collective centres will not solve the inadequate housing issue of
IDPs. Nonetheless, I hope that through the narrow focus on collective
centres, recommendations to member States for improvements will
be more effective.
The number of IDPs in Council of Europe member States,
many of whom live in collective centres, is estimated to be around
2.5 million. The main countries and regions concerned are Azerbaijan,
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Georgia, Kosovo and the Russian
Federation. The increasing number of refugees in Council of Europe
member States is also alarming, with many living in collective centres.
In eastern and south-eastern Europe, for example, there were 364 872
refugees in January 2013,Note
a number likely to increase with the
ongoing conflict in Syria.
10. These figures give only a vague estimate of the phenomena.
Due to the nature of internal migration and a lack of profiling
and data collection mechanisms consistent with the United Nations
Guiding Principles, it is extremely difficult for governments and
international or local organisations to log and put a number on
the people affected.
11. Mapping collective centres appears to be even more challenging.
While most of them have official status, there are still a large
number of “irregular” centres, which have generally been established
by displaced people themselves, without any formal permission from
12. Regardless of the status of the centres, in many cases, individuals
are forced to live in deplorable conditions and their basic human
rights are often violated. As a matter of fact, domestic legislation
often fails to address the specific needs and vulnerabilities of
these displaced people. In Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia,
Kosovo and Serbia, the authorities have taken some measures to respond
to housing conditions of some IDPs in collective centres. Bosnia
and Herzegovina drafted legislation as per the revised Annex VII
of the Dayton Accords, which after years of focusing on return,
expands support to include areas outside of IDPs' places of origin.
In Kyrgyzstan, consultations on a new four-year sustainable development
plan and national unity concept provided opportunities to improve
the rule of law and move towards reconciliation. Authorities in
Georgia are also revising their national legislation on internal
2.1 Living conditions
incompatible with human dignity, and prevalent risks
The individuals in question live in conditions incompatible
with human dignity and in violation of human rights, namely the
right to adequate housing as guaranteed under Article 31 of the
European Social Charter (revised) (ETS No. 163) and Article 11 of
the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).Note
They are mainly housed in
former hotels, hospitals, schools or factories, which are usually
not equipped with all the necessary facilities. The situation becomes
intolerable when the original short-term solutions turn into de facto
permanent ones. In fact,
many displaced persons have been living in such centres for over
14. The accommodation often lacks energy and water supplies, basic
hygiene and appropriate security. Furthermore, the places are often
too small for the number of persons that have to be accommodated.
In many cases, the buildings are in a very bad state of repair.
This results in an unhealthy, dangerous and overcrowded environment,
where serious risks for public health subsist. Furthermore, there
is a lack of security of tenure, including legal and practical protection
against eviction. In Serbia, for instance, residents had to leave
for other collective centres when their accommodation was closed
15. The centres are sometimes located in rural and remote areas,
ruling out any human contact with other communities and preventing
inhabitants from undertaking any kind of external activities. And
when the buildings are located in suburbs of big cities, no adequate
strategies for integration are available either.
16. Specific vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, the disabled,
women and children, who according to the information received represent
around 80% of displaced persons in Europe, encounter other types
of problems. Children often do not have access to education, which
puts their future at serious risk. Women are generally forced to
assume roles opposed to traditional ones, and are also more at risk
of becoming victims of sexual and domestic violence. The elderly
and the disabled may also suffer from both physical and mental disabilities.
17. All the above-mentioned aspects are exacerbated in the so-called
“irregular” collective centres, where the situation is compounded
by everyday insecurity in a dangerous and unprotected environment.
2.2 Situation in some
Council of Europe member States
18. After the conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region,
up to 586 000 people were internally displaced. Without a final
resolution to the conflict, they are not able to return to their
areas of origin and remain in a situation of protracted displacement.
A further group of persons have been displaced due to natural disasters. There
were up to 600 000 IDPs in the country at the end of 2012.
19. The State’s overall strategy is only to provide temporary
accommodation to IDPs, as returns to their villages continue to
be the preferred solution. Despite substantial investment in reconstruction
programmes to improve living conditions, a significant number of
the displaced population still live in sub-standard conditions in
collective centres 20 years after being displaced. Some of the new
settlements in rural areas are located far from neighbouring towns
which limits their residents’ self-reliance and livelihood opportunities.
20. The government has adopted several assistance measures for
IDPs. For example, IDPs are entitled to subsidies for utility bills,
free access to health services, monthly direct cash transfers and
job quotas and are exempt from higher education fees. However, this
strategy has led to a large proportion of individuals being dependent
on this kind of support, and the current unemployment rate among
IDPs is much higher than for the general population. However, some
of the IDP settlements are located in remote areas where access
to social services, livelihood and transportation is considerably
limited. IDPs also face insecurity of legal tenure and the risk
The overall situation of IDPs in Azerbaijan remains unsustainable.
In his follow-up report on Azerbaijan, the former Representative
of the Secretary General identified several challenges including
limitation of coverage in government programmes.Note
great majority of displaced persons still live in collective centres, and
when an alternative is provided, it does not always match the criteria
set by human rights norms. At the same time, one of the most alarming
issues is the extent of dependence of IDPs on State support and
the lack of a comprehensive strategy for integrating IDPs into the
labour market and ensuring higher incomes for the displaced population.
2.2.2 Bosnia and Herzegovina
According to UNHCR statistics and operational data,
the policy of ethnic cleansing during the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia
and Herzegovina caused the displacement of 2.2 million people.Note
The country now
has 103 000 IDPs, 8 600 of whom live in substandard conditions in
23. The authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina have sought to reverse
the impact of ethnic cleansing and return to the pre-war position
by focusing on returns and property restitution. However, many people
are still afraid to return to their pre-war homes, as ethnic enclaves
remain and the large number of amnesties given to perpetrators of
crimes committed during the war continues to make them feel unsafe.
According to official statistics, by 2010, more than a million
returns had been registered, around 450 000 of whom were refugees
and 580 000 were IDPs.Note
many of these returns cannot be considered durable solutions, as
problems in relation to security, water, electricity, health care,
employment, education and social protection persist.
25. Efforts towards solutions are driven by the Annex VII Revised
Strategy, passed by both houses of parliament in June 2010. As a
result, new legislation was drafted to provide alternatives for
IDPs beyond resettling them in their places of origin. The Parliament
of Bosnia and Herzegovina declined to adopt a new draft law on refugees
from Bosnia and Herzegovina, displaced persons and returnees in
April 2013. The current law therefore remains in force. The BiH
Council of Ministers’ programme of work envisages that a revised
draft will be considered by mid-2014. A great deal of support has
nonetheless been given by the international community. Among other
donors, the Council of Europe Development Bank funded a regional programme
under the 2005 Sarajevo Process to provide housing for refugees
and displaced persons in the country.
26. On 5 July 2013, a Joint Declaration on Resolving Protracted
Displacement in Bosnia and Herzegovina, addressing the issue of
refugees, IDPs and collective centre residents in Bosnia and Herzegovina,
was signed by representatives of the European Union, the United
Nations, the UNHCR, the Republika Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia
and Herzegovina, expressing mutual commitment to solving the problem
of protracted displacement in Bosnia and Herzegovina, paving the
way for the use of European Union IPA (Instrument for Pre-Accession)
funding to engage authorities and civil society partners at all
levels in better assessing and responding to the needs of displaced
families and their communities on the basis of the Revised Strategy
and as a complement to the Regional Housing Programme. A 7 million
euro project under the IPA 2012 programme operationalising the principles
adopted in the Joint Declaration has begun in 2014. The project
is implemented by the UNHCR in partnership with the UNDP, UNICEF,
the IOM and civil society partners and assists 800 additional families,
of whom 125 with housing and others with livelihoods and access
27. In a related but separate initiative, also building upon and
made possible by the Revised Strategy, the collective centre residents
are to be rehoused in social housing under the “CEBII” loan project,
prepared with intensive UNHCR support in 2011-13. The Council of
Ministers has approved the project. Once the Council of Ministers
completes the second phase of adoption of international agreements
pursuant to BiH laws, which is expected soon, the document will
go to the Presidency and subsequently to the BiH Parliamentary Assembly for
ratification. This will be followed by the signing of technical
agreements and of further subsidiary agreements between Bosnia and
Herzegovina and the Entities. Under this project, 121 of the remaining
155 collective centres in Bosnia and Herzegovina are due to be closed
by 2017, and the vulnerable residents provided with improved living
conditions in purpose-built social housing managed by the municipalities. Provision
has been made for other municipalities to join the scheme, wherever
they can be persuaded to do so, enabling them to submit plans for
the closure of the remaining collective centres. As a next step,
the BiH Presidency is expected to approve the project during the
upcoming session. Following that, the project will be signed by
the appointed Minister and eventually it will follow the fast-track
28. Despite these recent developments, major challenges persist
in addition to housing needs: IDPs unable or unwilling to return
continue to face serious obstacles to local integration, especially
in accessing the labour market, where unemployment rates of the
displaced population remain worryingly high.
29. There are still some 11 000 people from Kosovo in
Montenegro. They fled Kosovo during the NATO air campaign over the
then Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999 when they were granted
IDP status because Montenegro was a part of the Federal Republic
of Yugoslavia at that time. In 2006, when Montenegro became an independent
country, the government retained the IDP status of this group, who
were predominantly nationals of Serbia/Kosovo.
30. In 2009, the government amended the Law on Foreigners to enable
the IDPs to apply for the status of foreigner with permanent residence
and thus give them the opportunity to access all basic rights and
eventually full local integration. However, the procedure is quite
demanding, lengthy and costly. The problem is particularly serious
for the Roma as some of them may not have the required identity
documents to apply for the status under the 2009 Law.
31. There are some 3 200 Roma and Egyptians among IDPs, of whom
some 1 500 live in very poor conditions in the Konik camps on the
outskirts of Podgorica. Since the vast majority of them have opted
for local integration, Montenegro exceptionally included housing
projects for durable solutions for these people under the Sarajevo
Process, which targets persons displaced due to the conflicts between
1991 and 1995. Consequently, 120 apartments will be built through
the Regional Housing Programme, in addition to some 50 apartments
through the national IPA funds for the Konik residents, while some
40 families are in the pipeline for voluntary return to Kosovo,
subject to the allocation of land for construction of houses for
32. As stated above, many of these people need support to obtain
personal documents from the country of origin to be able to apply
for the status of permanent resident and this is the main activity
of the UNHCR and its partners in view of the fast-approaching deadline
of 31 December 2014. It is important to meet the deadline, as the
government has indicated that those who do not apply in time and
remain in the country will be considered as residing illegally in
Montenegro and may risk deportation.
33. A significant number of IDPs still live in degrading
conditions. In 2011, the Serbian Commissariat for Refugees, together
with the UNHCR, launched an assessment survey. This found that around
97 000 IDPs still required special assistance with more than 39%
unemployed and 74% living below the poverty line. “As of November
2012, 1 725 IDPs were living in 20 recognised collective centres
… many of which did not have adequate electricity, clean water and
sewerage facilities.” The IDP Needs Assessment conducted in 2011
also indicates that 74% of Roma IDPs require special assistance
and are without a durable solution, living in extremely difficult
34. The government initially promoted IDPs’ return to their places
of origin, but in recent years has increasingly supported local
integration. Several projects aimed at providing IDPs with permanent
housing solutions have been implemented, as well as a comprehensive
national policy on displacement. These measures have helped reverse
unemployment (49.5% of IDPs are unemployed and an estimated 29.5%
have informal employment without contracts) and also increased access
to health services, education and social welfare. For the time being,
though, the measures have had only a modest impact.
Although the government has developed the National Strategy
for Resolving the Situation of Refugees and Internally Displaced
Persons 2011-2014, it is not being implemented due to lack of funds
and capacity by the government. Grave concerns remain concerning
the situation of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian IDPs: up to 18% of them
do not have identity documents or birth certificates.Note
Without proper assistance, these
groups are condemned to continued marginalisation. This situation
meant that the IDPs were not registered, did not receive any assistance
with housing and were therefore forced to live in informal centres
in extremely insecure conditions. During his visit to Serbia in
October 2013, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced
persons encouraged the authorities to prioritise durable solutions,
ensure provision of essential services and address property disputes
involving IDPs. The vast majority of Roma IDPs live in extremely difficult
conditions on the margins of society and are subjected to double
discrimination on account of their ethnicity and their displacement.
Consequently, they are faced with numerous obstacles in accessing
36. By the end of 2013, 17 349 people were living in
internal displacement in Kosovo. This figure is the result of the
1999 conflict, which forced over a million people to flee Kosovo.
At the end of 2013, there were 37 collective centres in Kosovo with
800 individuals (321 families). Out of these 800 individuals, 56
individuals (34 families) were refugees and the others were IDPs.
Kosovo, in spite of the agreement of 19 April 2013 under which
Serbia acknowledged limited autonomy for Kosovo, critically affects
the situation of IDPs, as it prevents the Serbian and Kosovo authorities
from implementing co-ordinated projects and in some instances makes
returns unsustainable because of continuing violence.Note
More often than
not, the unsustainability of returns is related to problems with
security, a lack of jobs, difficulties in securing housing or funds
for reconstruction of destroyed property, as well as issues relating to
There is still a lack of information on the situation and
numbers of IDPs in Kosovo and the institutional response has been
slow. Recently, however, the Ministry of Communities and Returns
has taken responsibility for IDPs and is currently drafting a durable
solutions strategy. The Kosovo Government has also asked the Joint
IDP Profiling ServiceNote
to survey the situation of IDPs
in order to provide a more accurate picture of the situation of
IDPs in Kosovo and to develop solutions and responses accordingly.
The Kosovo authorities have requested support from the UNHCR in
drafting IDP legislation in 2014 which would define IDPs and possible compensation
schemes. The UNHCR has detailed information on the 800 IDPs in collective
centres and also collects and publishes monthly figures on IDPs.
Despite these steps, many IDPs still lack access to basic services
and durable alternative housing.
39. Kosovo’s response to displacement is improving, but the general
situation of IDPs remains critical. Some specific measures have
been adopted, such as projects facilitating returns and integration,
social housing allocation and local integration initiatives, but
there is still no implementation of a comprehensive national strategy
to address IDPs’ needs, notwithstanding that the government has
recently committed itself to developing and implementing such a
40. On a positive note, the last informal Roma settlement in Mitrovica
was closed in 2013 and durable solutions were found away from the
2.2.6 Russian FederationNote
41. Internal displacement in Russia is largely a result
of the armed conflicts in Chechnya and North Ossetia. Displacement
because of natural hazards, such as floods and wildfires, is also
significant in the country. However, there are no authoritative
figures on the number of the people currently displaced, which limits
the government’s ability effectively to uphold IDPs’ rights.
The Government of the Russian Federation counts “forced migrants”
rather than internally displaced people, as the authorities do not
apply the United Nations Guiding Principles. According to this restrictive definition,
many IDPs, unless they are a result of man-made disasters, fall
into the category of forced migrants. However, IDPs displaced in
their region (for example those who were forced out of their homes
but stayed in Chechnya) were not able to get this status. Many IDPs
displaced during the second (1999-2001) conflict in Chechnya were
also unable to get forced migrant status. This status is, however,
also open to involuntary migrants from former Soviet Republics with
Russian citizenship, who in the past held refugee status. It is
thus impossible to determine the number of IDPs according to the
United Nations Guiding Principles.Note
43. Several obstacles to returns and integration in Chechnya remain,
despite some 300 000 people having returned before 1999. On the
other hand, over 25 000 IDPs have returned to North Ossetia since
44. The Russian authorities have made efforts to assist those
forcibly displaced in the North Caucasus. Their interventions have
improved the lives of many IDPs, but a considerable number still
do not fully enjoy their rights, in the most critical cases up to
20 years after being displaced. Unemployment (around 60%) and poor living
conditions remain the most serious challenges for IDPs in the country.
45. The protracted nature of internally displaced populations
in European countries remains critical; in some cases the situation
has lasted for some 20 years. Despite individual efforts and improvements,
a large number of IDPs continue to live in collective centres in
deplorable conditions, with low prospects of any progress.
46. The data collected show that there is no clear awareness of
the number, living conditions and needs of the displaced population.
Worse still, many countries do not apply a comprehensive definition
of “internally displaced people” in line with United Nations Guiding
Principles, thereby neglecting a great number of the people affected.
47. It is important to reiterate that comprehensive information
on the numbers, location and living conditions of the displaced
population is essential for designing effective policies and programmes
to address their needs and protect their rights. I welcome the role
of humanitarian actors and the Special Rapporteur on the human rights
of internally displaced persons in supporting governments in a range
of areas including developing and implementing national laws and
policies on internal displacement, durable solutions for IDPs and
protection and assistance to IDPs. I also welcome the work of the
Joint IDP Profiling Service, which conducts surveys on the numbers
and situation of IDPs. However, this work is only done at the request
of the government concerned, which has to pay at least part of the
fee. Serbia has done this. I would therefore like to call on member
States to follow these examples of good practice, which ensure the
availability of reliable data based on international standards.
48. Another alarming point is the fact that these people are not
encouraged to be independent. In fact, they mostly rely on State
support and have no expectation of employment or economic sustainability.
49. Displaced populations also generally suffer from discrimination
and marginalisation. In almost all cases, the measures necessary
for their integration have not been implemented.
3 Possible alternatives
50. The above findings point to the need for alternative
or substitution measures, particularly where living and housing
conditions are incompatible with human dignity and human rights
standards that member States are obliged to comply with.
51. The desired final goal should be offering adequate housing
to all IDPs. To this end, necessary steps have to be taken by governments,
and a long-term strategy needs to be developed and implemented.
52. Each strategy should be based on an accurate picture of the
living conditions, housing needs and numbers of IDPs. Profiling
exercises are the starting point for analysing governments’ shortcomings, challenges
and opportunities on the issue. Unfortunately, very few States have
carried out initiatives of this kind to date.
53. Once such background studies have been conducted, governments
should consult directly with all IDPs, non-governmental organisations
(NGOs) and international organisations in order to identify the
best housing options available and in what quantity they are needed.
Information campaigns targeting IDPs should also be promoted, for
example, by opening local information offices.
54. None of the various alternatives can be durable solutions
unless they obtain financial support from governments and local
authorities. The rapporteur strongly believes that the Council of
Europe, particularly via its Development Bank, is capable of achieving
considerable progress in this area.
3.1 Alternatives based
on existing practices
55. The alternatives proposed below have been successful
and effective in some countries, but should not be regarded as general
rules. Each country has its own characteristics and the most appropriate
solutions should be identified on an ad hoc basis from existing
alternatives. The following general principles must however be respected:
a) respect of the right of IDPs to basic shelter and adequate housing;
b) effective and meaningful participation of IDPs in decision making;
c) prioritisation on the basis of needs and particular vulnerabilities;
d) removal of legal obstacles in areas of return; e) protection
of IDPs from forced eviction where general guarantees are insufficient;
f) promotion of durable solutions and IDPs access to social services
and livelihoods in areas to which they have been moved.
3.1.1 Housing assistance
in places of origin
56. The authorities are responsible for ensuring that
IDPs have access to adequate housing. Where possible, the emphasis
should be on access to housing in the IDPs’ places of origin.
57. Returns have been the main focus of IDP strategies in Serbia
and Bosnia and Herzegovina. In this context, governments are also
responsible for facilitating IDPs’ integration and fostering conditions
for safe and voluntary returns, enabling them to rebuild their lives.
3.1.2 New housing
58. When returns to the places of origin are not possible,
the construction of housing in other areas of the country is a valid
option. This option however should be voluntary and its implementation
also needs to be carried out voluntarily. This strategy has been
widely adopted by Georgia and Azerbaijan, and should be backed by
initiatives to promote local integration and access to livelihoods
3.1.3 Allocation of abandoned
59. In exceptional circumstances, abandoned housing may
be reallocated to IDPs. IDPs in the Russian Federation have often
been provided with this solution.
60. This option should, however, only be considered in limited
and critical circumstances and carried out with a high degree of
sensitivity. Legitimate owners must have given up their rights to
their housing and have received compensation from the State in return.
This kind of housing should then go to the State property register
for allocation to families in need, including IDPs. It is essential
to avoid later eviction of IDPs if the previous owners want to repossess
their property, thereby causing another wave of displacement. In
reality, this rarely happens, as the rights of the owners are weighed
against the rights of the occupants (for example in Cyprus).
3.1.4 Social housing
61. A promising example is the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
where, thanks to a project in part financed by the Council of Europe,
72% of the existing collective centre residents are to be rehoused
in social housing under the “CEBII” loan project, prepared with
intensive UNHCR support in 2011-13, which is ready to start in 2014,
for completion by 2017.
3.1.5 Financial housing
62. IDPs may also be granted sums of money in order to
rent or buy properties, as monetary housing assistance. Serbia serves
as good example for this alternative. A housing voucher programme
was set up in Kutaisi in 2006 and IDPs received financial assistance.
This scheme was discontinued in 2009. Following the 2008 war, a
monetary housing assistance was provided to IDPs to buy their own
properties, but many failed to do so, and it was discontinued in
2012. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, many IDPs continue to receive financial assistance
from the relevant ministries in order to pay for their alternative
accommodation. Some of these households will be assisted under the
Regional Housing Programme and some under the CEBII loan project.
63. However, the State should ensure that the money granted actually
enables IDPs to find appropriate solutions and freely choose their
3.1.6 Renovation and
privatisation of collective centres
64. When a collective centre is privatised, residents
become owners of the entire centre or of their flats. Alternatively,
they can also be offered favourable long-term rent agreements. In
all of these cases, the collective centre loses its status as such.
65. Nevertheless, in most instances, these buildings need to be
renovated and modernised, in line with minimum living standards.
In addition to renovation, the inhabitants need to be trained in
basic plumbing, water management and minor mechanical repairs as
well as in setting up a building management office.
66. Privatisation is one of the most successful practices introduced
in Georgia. Nevertheless, major challenges persist concerning the
quality of the renovation work and the slow pace of the process.
of informal collective centres
67. Regularisation or formalisation of a centre’s status
is a measure to achieve a lasting solution and to prevent further
displacement if the centre is closed. It enables IDPs to upgrade
their living conditions and improve the existing infrastructure.
This alternative has been widely used in Kosovo.
3.2 Conditions applicable
to alternative measures
68. Any alternative housing measures proposed for IDPs
must fulfil certain requirements relating to accommodation conditions.
They must be either equivalent to or better than those provided
by the collective centres, and comply with standards laid down in
Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 11
of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
and Article 31 of the European Social Charter (revised).
69. All these initiatives should be implemented in compliance
with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement
(1998) and taking into account available best practices.
70. It is important for the individuals concerned, particularly
as regards social cohesion, that the States affected establish specific
policies on the integration of IDPs in order to prevent their isolation.
71. The States concerned must also ensure that IDPs have freedom
of choice when selecting a new residence and are notified as quickly
as possible if the centre in which they are accommodated is to be
72. The present report has outlined the major challenges
regarding the living conditions of IDPs and refugees in collective
centres in Europe. Unfortunately, however, as already stated, it
has been very hard to draw an accurate picture because of the difficulties
involved in obtaining exhaustive data on the displaced populations
and their living conditions.
73. Whichever approach is taken, it is therefore important that
national legislation, policy or strategy on internal displacement
is in line with international standards and covers all phases of
displacement and all its different aspects. A national strategy
will also be most effective if developed in full consultation with
74. In addition, a national governmental focal point for IDPs
should be set up to deal with this issue effectively, while local
offices should also be established with a view to raising awareness
of the situation of IDPs and their rights.
75. These measures should, however, go hand in hand with steps
to integrate IDPs in the host community as effectively as possible
and introduce an empowerment strategy.
76. All the measures concerned should be implemented in full compliance
with human rights standards, with particular attention being accorded
to women, children, persons with disabilities, minority groups and vulnerable