Bosnia to re-register refugees to target aid

SARAJEVO, Jul 20, 2000 -- (Reuters) Bosnian authorities, supported by the UN refugee agency UNHCR, said on Wednesday they would begin re-registering displaced people next week to help them design a future returns policy.

It will be the first registration in five years of those displaced within the country during the 1992-5 conflict, those who found refuge abroad and those who had returned to their pre-war homes, a government official said.

"The results will serve as a basis for all future return plans," Sulejman Garib, Minister for Refugees of Bosnia's Moslem-Croat federation, told a news conference.

The registration, due to begin on July 25 and to last for three months, will be simultaneously conducted in Bosnia's two autonomous regions, the Moslem-Croat federation and the Serb republic.

UNHCR will provide funds for the project, which has been delayed for two years for reasons the agency did not specify.

"This re-registration will finally eliminate all political manipulations with refugees and displaced persons...and particularly with returnees," said Bosnian Serb Minister for Refugees Miladin Dragicevic.

Neither UNHCR or local officials have any more than the roughest estimates of how many refugees and displaced persons there are in Bosnia.

Mario Nenadic, Deputy Minister for Refugees in Bosnia's central government, said rough estimates put the number of refugees who had returned to their pre-war homes in both regions at 360,000, and the number of displaced at 310,000.

According to the latest UNHCR figures, some 1.1 million Bosnians are either refugees abroad or displaced within Bosnia.

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