Repeated Collective Expulsions of Roma from UK

10 May 2003

In addition to the above security issues, Roma, Ashkaelia and Egyptians in Kosovo are reported to face a range of other concerns. Namely, according to all three reports, Roma, Ashkaelia and Egyptians face restrictions on their freedom of movement within the province, and even within towns, for example, in the Prishtine/Priština and Gjilan/Gnjilane regions. In at least one community, Štrpce/Shtërpcë in the Gjilan/Gnjilane region, access to justice is limited due to restricted freedom of movement, according to the Update. The predominantly Kosovo Serb community with a Romani minority reportedly falls under jurisdiction of the Municipal Court in Ferizaj/Uroševac, which is principally populated by Albanians. Tensions between the ethnic groups limit the freedom of movement of Kosovo Serbs and Roma, the Update stated, so much so that Kosovo Serbs and Roma are physically not able to access the court. Therefore, the number of minority cases heard and judged in Ferizaj/Uroševac is reportedly very few.

Where certain Roma, Ashkaelia and Egyptian communities have gained a sense of stability, their dire financial situation reportedly continues to create conflict between them and the majority community, according to the reports, and, as the Assessment pointed out, Roma, Ashkaelia and Egyptian returnees have not been able to access employment in publicly-owned ventures.

According to the Assessment, access to healthcare also continues to be an issue of particular concern with respect to Roma, Ashkaelia and Egyptians in Kosovo. In Mitrovicë/Mitrovica, the Romani communities reside in camps, which, until recently, were reportedly situated some distance from the nearest medical facility. As reported in the Assessment, the Zitkovac/Zitkovc camp is around three kilometres, and the Banjska/Banjskë collective centre is about fifteen kilometres, from the clinic in Zvecan/Zveçan; the Leposavić/Leposaviq Romani camp is approximately one kilometre from the municipal clinic. However, many Roma, Ashkaelia and Egyptians also cannot access medical services because they do not hold the requisite identification documents or medical booklets, the Assessment reported.

In its Position Paper, the UNHCR warned that forced returns of Roma, Ashkaelia and Egyptians to Kosovo has led to secondary displacement and caused overcrowding in some locations. Despite immense efforts put into planning previous return schemes, violent acts against Roma, Ashkaelia and Egyptians, particularly returnees, continues. Due to the very serious human rights situation of Roma, Ashkaelia and Egyptians in Kosovo, the ERRC - with a number of other international agencies - advocates that at present no members of these groups should be returned to Kosovo. International protection should remain an available option for all Kosovo Roma, Ashkaelia and Egyptians abroad. Further information on the situation of Roma, Ashkaelia and Egyptians in Kosovo is available on the ERRC's Internet website at:



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