EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: EUR 65/01/93
Please bring this to the attention of the refugee coordinator in your section
UA 299/93 Fear of return 1 September 1993
THE FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA:
Ethnic Albanians from Kosovo province of Serbia
Amnesty International is concerned by recent reports that police in the Former
Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYRM) have been carrying out systematic
round-ups of ethnic Albanians whom they apparently believe come from Kosovo
province of Serbia and are citizens of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY).
The round-ups have been occurring in and around the town of Tetovo in the west
of the republic, although it is likely that similar actions are occurring in
other areas. Some of these men have reportedly already been returned to the
FRY. The people involved appear to be mainly young men of military age, many
of whom may have fled to the FYRM to avoid military service in the FRY.
Amnesty International has documented frequent abuses of human rights in Kosovo
province of Serbia and continues to receive almost daily reports of
ill-treatment of ethnic Albanians, particularly beatings, by police in the
province, and sometimes of more serious incidents. The organisation is concerned
that ethnic Albanians returned from the FYRM will be at risk of ill-treatment,
torture or other human rights' violations in Kosovo province or other parts
of the FRY.
The FYRM itself has a large ethnic Albanian minority. Many have family ties
with ethnic Albanians in the neighbouring Kosovo province of Serbia. Even before
the international recognition of the FRYM in April 1993, increasing numbers
of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo have sought protection in the FYRM fearing
that they would be at risk of human rights violations in Kosovo province or
Serbia. In addition, many ethnic Albanians, originating from Kosovo, have been
living and/or working in Macedonia for some years before its independence but,
if they were to be returned now because of their irregular status in the FYRM,
would be similarly at risk.
Since the outbreak of war in Bosnia-Herzegovina the FYR Macedonia has provided
temporary protection to around 30,000 refugees from that republic.
Under the principle of non-refoulement, states are obliged not to forcibly
send any person to a country where she or he would be at risk of serious human
rights violations. This principle is recognized by the international community
as a norm of customary international law which is binding on all states.
International standards recognize that governments face considerable practical
and administrative problems when large numbers of asylum-seekers arrive within