Representative of the UN Secretary General for the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons Expresses Concern over Romani IDPs and Victims of Lead Poisoning
1 February 2006
According to United Nations press release dated June 24, 2005, Mr Walter Kaelin, representative of the UN Secretary General for the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, expressed concern regarding the situation of internally displaced people (IDPs) in Kosovo, focusing particularly on the Romani, Ashkali and Egyptian IDPs. Mr Kaelin was quoted as having stated:
"[…] The focus of the relevant authorities has exclusively been on return, thus disregarding those who are still displaced within Kosovo. This is especially true for Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian IDPs who together with the other non-Serb minorities feel caught between the two main ethnic communities in Kosovo."
Mr Kaelin, citing a number of problems in the return of IDPs, made reference to the "deplorable" housing conditions of IDPs and expressed concern for the safety of displaced persons due to inter-ethnic violence. With reference to the situation of Roma living in Northern Mitrovica on land containing unacceptably high levels of lead, Mr Kaelin called the situation an "emergency" and called for an immediate evacuation of residents to non-contaminated areas. More information on the situation of the internally displaced Roma in the camps in North Mitrovica, is available on the ERRC website at: http://www.errc.org.