Montenegro is currently home to around 16,000 refugees from the 1990 wars in the former Yugoslavia. Displaced Bosnians, Serbs and Croats are spread out in camps throughout the small country. The Konik camp is home for 1,500 ethnic Roma who fled Kosovo during the 1999 war. Situated near a garbage dump on the outskirts of Podgorica, residents have been in a state of limbo for fifteen years, in increasingly deteriorating conditions. In 2012, a fire and subsequent flood made conditions even more appalling, leaving over 800 refugees homeless. The European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance has described conditions at the camp as being “inhumane and hazardous,” and recommended the swift closure of the camp. Improving the situation of refugees is currently a key issue for Montenegro’s possible ascension into the European Union.
Many current residents lost their identity papers and under Montenegrin law, cannot apply for permanent residency unless they return to Kosovo and apply for a new passport, costing hundreds of Euros. With no way of legally working, this is simply out of the question for many people here. Meanwhile, children are born and grow up amongst the trash. For many young people the camp and it's surroundings have become more of a home than the country their parents left during a now long finished war.