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The BBC's Jacky Rowland in Belgrade
"Mr Kouchner said the forcible return of refugees went against all international norms"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 12 April, 2000, 19:44 GMT 20:44 UK
UN criticises Kosovo refugee policy
refugees in Australian camp
Some refugees in Australia resist moves to send them home
The head of the United Nations administration in Kosovo, Bernard Kouchner, has warned against the forced return of refugees.

A number of host countries, including Australia, Switzerland and Germany, have begun moves to send refugees back to Kosovo.


They were fair enough to open their doors - now we have to calm down and slow down the process of the coming back

Bernard Kouchner

Mr Kouchner said forced returns went against all international norms, but conceded that the UN had no legal means to prevent such moves.

Other officials are concerned that Kosovo's still shaky administration and war-damaged housing will not be able to cope with a sudden influx of people.

UN officials estimate more than 200,000 people from Kosovo - both ethnic Albanians and Serbs - still live outside the province.

Deported

On Wednesday, Swiss authorities deported 58 refugees to the province's capital, Pristina - the first time they have been returned by force.

All the refugees had entered Switzerland after 1 July last year.

Mr Kouchner said urged the host countries to be patient.

"They offered asylum when it was an emergency period and they were fair enough to open their doors.

"Now we have to calm down and slow down the process of the coming back."

Switzerland and Germany both say the refugees do not need asylum one year after the end of the conflict.

The Australian government this week threatened to deport 182 Kosovo Albanians unless they decided to return home voluntarily.

About half have agreed to go back, but more than 30 are still on the run after fleeing to escape repatriation.

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Kosovo: One year on
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Key stories:
Nato's incomplete victory
The view from Kosovo
Serbs fear new war
Nato strikes: The untold story
An Uneasy Peace
Talking Point
Is the West losing the peace?
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See also:

11 Apr 00 | Asia-Pacific
Kosovo refugees missing in Australia
02 Apr 00 | Europe
Kosovo gripped by racketeers
07 Apr 99 | Europe
Worldwide relief operation
21 Mar 99 | Kosovo
Where did all the Kosovars go?
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