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Balkan briefing (part 4). Kosovo refugees in the North West region of the United Kingdom
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  1. Iqbal Srama,
  2. David Wardb
  1. aNHS Executive North West, 930–32 Birchwood Boulevard, Millennium Park, Birchwood, Warrington WA3 7QN, bJohn Moores University, Liverpool
  1. Dr Sram

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“Once we had a country and we thought it fair Look in the atlas and you'll find it there We cannot go there now, my dear, we cannot go there now” W H Auden

The unstable political situation in the former Yugoslavia has resulted in inter-ethnic conflict with profound economic, social and human rights consequences. It led to a major military intervention by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) forces. A large proportion of the Kosovars were forced to abandon their homes and seek refuge in Macedonia and Albania.

The government of Macedonia was very worried that the large number of Kosovor refugees in their country might destablise the country's delicate political balance. This led to pressure on the European Union countries to make adequate arrangements to admit substantial number of refugees from Kosovo into the European Union countries.

The United Kingdom government agreed to take in a unspecified number of refugees. In the event 4346, refugees were admitted into the United Kingdom under the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Humanitarian Evacuation Programme. Of this total 2400 were accommodated in the North West region of the United Kingdom. The general plan was that the new arrivals should be looked after in parts of the country other than the south east part of the United Kingdom. The government was of the view that the south east part of the country had already taken a large number of ad hoc asylum seekers.

National arrangements

In the United Kingdom the responsibility for coordinating contingency arrangements for any influx of refugees lies with the Home Office. On this occasion the Home Office charged the Refugee Council with setting up and running whatever reception facilities may be necessary, including transport from the port of entry. The Refugee Council was chosen as it has the expertise in …

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