Conference on “Social and economic rights for forcibly displaced persons during the conflicts in former Yugoslavia”

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina 27-28/06/2017
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Conference on “Social and economic rights for forcibly displaced persons during the conflicts in former Yugoslavia”

The Council of Europe is organising a conference on “Social and economic rights for forcibly displaced persons during the conflicts in former Yugoslavia”, which will take place in the building of the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo on 27 and 28 June 2017.

Today, after more than 20 years of action towards durable solutions, the majority of forcibly displaced persons during the conflicts in former Yugoslavia have returned home or integrated locally but about 350,000 still leave some form of displacement, without a durable solution.

Therefore, the main themes of the conference will be:

  • Regional challenges in implementing economic and social rights agreed within the Sarajevo Declaration process [1] ; and
  • Implementing economic and social rights in post-conflict situations.

The conference is also aimed at promoting the use of the European Social Charter, the ratification of the revised treaty by all Council of Europe member States and the acceptance of the collective complaints procedure.

The conference will address the issue of whether, to what extent and how, the Council of Europe and its human rights instruments, in particular the European Social Charter and its monitoring mechanisms, can be of assistance in devising and implementing such durable solutions notably the right to housing but also the right to benefit from social welfare services.

The contribution of civil society in effectively implementing rights either by contributing to the country reporting procedure or through the collective complaints mechanism will also be highlighted.

Annual conclusions and relevant decisions by the European Committee of Social Rights, as well as country reports by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, have highlighted issues of concern and addressed concrete recommendations to Council of Europe member states.

Representatives of the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” and Kosovo*, academic and policy experts, as well as members of civil society will be taking part in this conference.

[1] Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia and have been cooperating since 2005 to find sustainable solutions for those displaced by the 1991-1995 conflicts within the framework of the Sarajevo Declaration. Within this framework, the four countries have, as of 2012, jointly initiated the implementation of the Regional Housing Programme.

* All references to Kosovo, whether the territory, institutions or population, in this text shall be understood in full compliance with United Nation's Security Council Resolution 1244 and without prejudice to the status of Kosovo.

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