Roma Rights in Kosovo: Joint Statement to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe

On September 19, 2005, three organisations presented at a meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), convened in Warsaw, a statement detailing the need for justice for Roma in Kosovo, where despite six years of United Nations administration, extreme abuses prevail. The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC), European Network Against Racism (ENAR) and European Roma Information Office (ERIO) tabled a document urging the international community to end the impunity for ethnic cleansing of Roma in Kosovo and to bring the perpetrators to justice. The three organisations stated:

"Where Roma, Ashkalia, Egyptians, and others regarded as "Gypsies" are concerned, Kosovo is a human rights vacuum. Roma and others regarded as "Gypsies" were a late human rights priority of the international community, and have never been viewed as meriting action on the scale of previous human rights actions in Kosovo. Justice in matters related to the ethnic cleansing and other serious human rights violations affecting these groups has been denied and/or severely delayed."

The statement also describes very worrying developments in the northern town of Mitrovica, where authorities have failed to date to move approximately six hundred displaced Roma currently living on a toxic waste site. The statement was brought before the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, an annual event addressing human rights concerns in the OSCE region. The full text of the statement is available at: http://www.errc.org

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