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International Organization for Migration: experience on the need for medical evacuation of refugees during the Kosovo crisis in 1999.
Croatian Medical Journal. 2002; 43(2):195-198.The International Organization for Migration (IOM) developed and implemented a three-month project entitled Priority Medical Screening of Kosovar Refugees in Macedonia, within the Humanitarian Evacuation Program (HEP) for Kosovar refugees from FR Yugoslavia, which was adopted in May 1999. The project was based on an agreement with the office of United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and comprised the entry of registration data of refugees with medical condition (Priority Medical Database), and classification (Priority Medical Screening) and medical evacuation of refugees (Priority Medical Evacuation) in Macedonia. To realize the Priority Medical Screening project plan, IOM developed and set up a Medical Database linked to IOM/UNHCR HEP database, recruited and trained a four-member data entry team, worked out and set up a referral system for medical cases from the refugee camps, and established and staffed medical contact office for refugees in Skopje and Tetovo. Furthermore, it organized and staffed a mobile medical screening team, developed and implemented the system and criteria for the classification of referred medical cases, continuously registered and classified the incoming medical reports, contacted regularly the national delegates and referred to them the medically prioritized cases asking for acceptance and evacuation, and co-operated and continuously exchanged the information with UNHCR Medical Co-ordination and HEP team. Within the timeframe of the project, 1,032 medical cases were successfully evacuated for medical treatment to 25 host countries throughout the world. IOM found that those refugees suffering from health problems, who at the time of the termination of the program were still in Macedonia and had not been assisted by the project, were not likely to have been priority one cases, whose health problems could be solved only in a third country. The majority of these vulnerable people needed social rather than medical care and assistance - a challenge that international aid agencies needed to address in Macedonia and will need to address elsewhere. (author's)
Geneva, Switzerland, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [UNHCR], Evaluation and Policy Analysis Unit, 2002 Dec. 14 p. (New Issues in Refugee Research Working Paper No. 72)In recent years, the reluctance of western governments to admit asylum seekers and the introduction of restrictive migration policies has caused many people to turn to their last resort - human smugglers. This paper attempts to analyse the role of smugglers in the movement of asylum seekers into Western Europe through the region of former Yugoslavia. Although all of the five newly formed states of former Yugoslavia are affected by the phenomenon of human smuggling, Bosnia and Herzegovina is most often used as a stepping stone for migrants who are moving north and west. Bosnia is consequently the central focus of this paper. The paper explains why the former Yugoslavia is used as a transit region, by whom it is used, where the smuggled people come from and where they are going to. In addition, the paper provides a description of the experiences that asylum seekers must endure during their journey through the region. As a clandestine and uncontrolled movement, there is a lack of information and statistics on migrant smuggling. The evidence on which this work is based upon is mainly gathered from UNHCR files, media and government sources and existing studies. (excerpt)