Support to unaccompanied and separated refugee children

Montenegro is sharing the same challenges as the rest of Western Balkan countries. Between January and December 2022, Montenegro registered 8,298 arrivals, including 463 children (285 boys, 178 girls) mainly from Afghanistan, Iran, and Bangladesh. This presented an increase of 161 % compared to arrivals in 2021. In addition, in 2022, after the outbreak of war in Ukraine, around 95 000 Ukrainian citizens entered Montenegro (8047 applied for temporary protection).

Our member organisation Juventas published the “Guide on referral system/social services delivery for UASC in Montenegro”. This practical tool is of use for those who work with unaccompanied or separated child, citizen of a third country, or a stateless person under the age of 18, who entered Montenegro unaccompanied by an adult who takes care of him or remained unaccompanied after entering Montenegro, until placed under guardianship in accordance with the regulations of Montenegro.

The Guide will be a multipliable model for the efficient provision of social services to the UASC to support the establishment of a protection-sensitive migration management system in the target countries. It will serve to assist the UASC who approached our services and ensure that the assistance in service provision is provided in a timely and professional manner.

This document is prepared within the project “Security for Human Beings and Borders – Combating Smuggling of Migrants in the Western Balkans”, financed by the Group 484 through the EU project and implemented by the Nisma për Ndryshim Shoqëror – ARSIS (Albania) and NGO Juventas (Montenegro).

The Guide is available following this link>>>.


Information materials for refugees, humanitarian workers and health-care workers

As part of the UNODC-led project “Emergency support for the provision of HIV and Harm Reduction services among key populations in Ukraine and refugees in selected neighbouring countries“, DPNSEE collected information of relevance about health services and drugs for the refugees from Ukraine and displaced persons from Russia.

All important stakeholders participated in commenting on the draft and provided information from their field of work: ministries of health and interior, commissariat for refugees, institute for public health, office for combating drugs, UNHCR and a civil society organisations working with refugees. This was very important because it would have ensured that the information was accepted and later distributed by all.

Two clear, reliable, and trustworthy information documents are prepared:

  • General information for refugees and displaced persons in the Republic of Serbia, including information about Refugees in the Republic of Serbia, Temporary residence in the Republic of Serbia, and Where else to get more information and support?
  • Information for people living with HIV and populations at increased risk of HIV, including General information about the health care of refugees and displaced persons, Information for people living with HIV, Information for people who use drugs, Information for people from the LGBTI+ population, Information for sex workers, Groceries, other daily necessities and other available services and contacts of the civil society organizations in Serbia that provide support

The documents were translated into four languages: Ukrainian, Russian, Serbian and English. With a specific layout, they were published on the DPNSEE website at the following address:


Serbia extended temporary protection for refugees from Ukraine for an additional year

The Government of the Republic of Serbia extended the duration of temporary protection for refugees from Ukraine for an additional year. The Government concluded that the reasons for temporary protection still exist, as a result of which it is extended for another year, until 18 March 2024. This decision is in line with the approach of the European Union in managing the situation of mass influx of people caused by the international armed conflict in Ukraine.

The decisions are based on the Law on Asylum and Temporary Protection, which stipulates that temporary protection will be granted to persons who were forced to leave their country of origin or habitual residence and who cannot return to permanent and safe living conditions due to the prevailing situation in that country. The temporary protection mechanism was first activated in Serbia on 17 March 2022.

Based on the Decision of the Government of Serbia, the Asylum Office issued 1,214 decisions approving temporary protection in the period from its entry into force until 1 March 2023. A total of 1,229 people applied for approval of temporary protection, of which 836 were women and 393 were men, including 304 children. There were no unaccompanied children among the persons who requested temporary protection.

According to the Government Decision, temporary protection can be granted, in addition to citizens of Ukraine, to foreigners who had a regular stay in Ukraine. The largest number of persons granted temporary protection are citizens of Ukraine (1,166), but the Asylum Office also accepted requests for this type of protection from citizens of Russia (28), Uzbekistan (6), Armenia (5), Libya (3), China (2), and Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia and Latvia (1 each). Persons granted temporary protection are guaranteed by the Law access to a whole range of economic and social rights – the right to residence, personal documents, the right to education, but also access to the labor market and health care in accordance with the regulations governing the rights of foreigners.


A dialogue on national drug strategies

Following the previous South East Europe government – civil society dialogues on drugs, held in 2018 and 2020, the Drug Policy Network South East Europe organised a very successful Regional round table focused on community-led consultative process on the importance of human rights and evidence-based national drug strategies in HIV response.

The Round table was held in scope of the UNODC-led project for implementation of the “Emergency support for the provision of HIV and Harm Reduction services among key populations in Ukraine and refugees in selected neighbouring countries.” The primary objectives of the project are to ensure the continuity of the HIV prevention, treatment and care (including OAT and ARV) services for people who use drugs/live with HIV, especially community-based care and support for people who use drugs, people living with HIV and other key populations.

The aim of the event was mobilising civil society, service providers, policymakers and other national stakeholders from the Western Balkan region to ensure wide and all-involving drug strategy development process, with the focus on evidence and human rights-based drug strategies which prioritise health-related needs and resources.

The Regional round table was held on 21 February 2023 in Belgrade. The Office for Combating Drugs of the Government of Serbia supported the event ensuring that it is held in the Palace of Serbia.

A record 58 participants came from across of the region, including civil society, service providers, policymakers and other national stakeholders. Representatives of UN Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC), European Drug Agency (EMCDDA) and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria joined.

The agenda of the event included presentations of the UNODC project and work around key populations at the global level, the ongoing refugee situation in Serbia and Montenegro, as well as national responses to humanitarian refugee crisis and changing drug situation in countries of the region. In addition, the Round table offered a platform for discussion on with the focus on identifying needs of different stakeholders, especially key affected populations, analysing the national HIV/harm reduction response, key challenges and priorities, the role of the civil society, funding, monitoring, evaluation and impacts assessment.

Presentations from the Regional round table are available following this link>>>.

Bellow is the recording of the Regional round table.


Piloting online outreach services

NGO ReGeneracija held the training “Piloting web outreach services for working with people who use drugs and are at risk of HIV/AIDS, with a special focus on new psychoactive substances, stimulants and recreational drug use” on 20 February 2023. The training was part of the project “Emergency support for the provision of HIV and harm reduction services among key populations in Ukraine and refugees in selected neighboring countries” financed by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The training was intended for civil society organizations that would like to start online outreach activities (web outreach) and that work in the field of harm reduction, HIV/AIDS prevention, prevention of various forms of risky behavior, or encounter populations at increased risk in their work.

Topics of the training included the basics of establishing online outreach, as well as concrete steps to make piloting these services easier for everyone and fully adaptable to the needs of the populations one work with, as well as the capacities of implementing organisations. Programme had two components:

  1. Legal framework, challenges and approaches in working with persons at increased risk, local context of the use of new psychoactive substances/stimulants
  2. Piloting online services – where and how to start, ways of communication and access to the community, advantages and challenges of such services, ethics, data collection, monitoring and evaluation.

Web Outreach Consultation Services

Within the project “Emergency support for the provision of HIV and harm reduction services among key populations in Ukraine and refugees in selected neighbouring countries”, funded by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), our member organisation NGO ReGeneration is providing web outreach services to displaced Ukrainian and Russian citizens in the form of peer consultations and counseling on the topics of harm reduction regarding the use of psychoactive substances, NPS and stimulants in particular, and the risks that potentially accompany their use or related behavioral patterns. We are also providing referral services in terms of voluntary, confidential counseling and testing (VCCT) for HIV, HCV and sexually transmitted infections (STI) in general, as well as consultations and referral services regarding substance use disorders and other possibly necessary health, social or legal services (GBV and such).

The Web outreach services is provided via the Zoom platform, in the form of individual, anonymous and confidential peer consultations, five days per week, in time-slots of 3 hours.

The mode of communication and topics are entirely up to the beneficiaries. The consultations will be provided in English, by English-speaking staff. If any of the potential beneficiaries are not comfortable enough with their English to engage in consultations in this language, we are able to provide consultations in their native language by providing simultaneous interpreting from and into Russian or Ukrainian; however, due to the added logistical steps, it is necessary to schedule consultations in Russian or Ukrainian for specific dates and time slots; these can be scheduled by contacting our organization at:

To access the Web outreach service, follow this link>>>.


Needs assessment

Our member organisation Re Generation will implement the research study ‘’The needs assessment among Ukrainian refugees and Russian migrants in the Republic of Serbia on access to services and new psychoactive substances/stimulant use’’. The survey is part of the “Emergency support for the provision of HIV and Harm Reduction services among key populations in Ukraine and refugees in selected neighbouring countries” project funded by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

This research study aims to estimate the level of new psychoactive substances/stimulants used among Ukrainian refugees and Russian migrants as well as understand what the Republic of Serbia should do in the future to ensure that the Ukrainian refugees and Russian migrants have access to services that will improve their social and health status in the humanitarian settings.

If you are a Ukrainian refugee or Russian migrant in the Republic of Serbia, please see the s urvey, more information, and consent form in English here>>>.

Please remember the following:

  • Participation in this research is voluntary, confidential and free,
  • You do not have to decide today whether or not you will participate in the research,
  • Before you decide, you can talk to anyone you feel comfortable with about the research.


Project coordination meeting

Partners in the “Emergency support for the provision of HIV and Harm Reduction services among key populations in Ukraine and refugees in selected neighbouring countries” project held a coordination meeting with the representative of the UNODC Regional Programme Office for Eastern Europe which supports the project. It was an opportunity to present information of the activities implemented since the start of the project in mid-December and additionally clarify some issues related to reporting.

Meeting with the UN agencies

DPNSEE and partners in the “Emergency support for the provision of HIV and Harm Reduction services among key populations in Ukraine and refugees in selected neighbouring countriesproject in Serbia held an online meeting with the representatives of he UN agencies in the country. The aim of the meeting was to present the project and to ensure that it is connected with the work of the agencies.

We expect that the support of the UN system will contribute to establishing good relations and eliminate potential challenges in implementation of the project.