European Union Continues to provide FREE LEGAL AID to internally displaced persons, refugees and returnees under readmission

At the project’s opening info session held in Belgrade today, continuation of the cooperation of the Government of Serbia and European Union in protection of the rights of the internally displaced persons (IDP), refugees and returnees under readmission was presented. The EU will continue to provide free legal aid, through the implementation of the joint project “Legal aid, assistance and dissemination of information necessary for ensuring the protection and exercising of rights of IDPs, refugees and returnees.

In next two years, IDPs, refugees and returnees will have an opportunity to receive adequate access to information and efficient free legal assistance necessary for exercising their rights that have been denied over the last couple of decades. The free legal aid also includes representations at courts/institutions in places of origin of the IDP, who will, with help of this project, get the opportunity to regain illegally occupied, damaged or destroyed properties, as well as other rights.

At the info session, project implementing team presented planned project activities and expected results for the next two years, highlighting the provision of the key legal aid services to these vulnerable groups of citizens. The major challenges and approaches in the provision of the legal aid to these groups were discussed with the presence of the representatives from EU Delegation to Serbia, Serbian Commissariat for Refugees, UNHCR, numerous civil society organizations that are working with the IDP and refugee population, as well as lawyers and legal counsellors. As this project represents a continuation of cooperation, emphasised were results achieved in past two years: 3.290 cases were opened, 2.326 property proceedings before Basic and Appeal Courts in Kosovo*, 2.074 labour indenisation cases before Kosovo Privatization Agency of PISG in Pristina and realized rights for payment of labour remuneration to the amount of 870 000 euros.

The project is operating 6 legal aid offices Lawyers and legal counsellors are at disposal at each office for citizens who have IDP, refugee or returnee status under readmission procedures, to provide support to their exercising of rights. Toll-free phone 0800 108 208 is operating for provision of information about legal aid services and appoint meetings with our lawyers and legal counsellors at each out of 6 office.

The project which started in December 2018 and it is a continuation of the long line of projects providing a free legal aid that the Office for Kosovo and Metohija implements with the financial support of the European Union. The implementing partner is a consortium led by Evropska konsalting grupa d.o.o.