MINELRES: Kosovo Roma want to take part in the negotiations on Kosovos future

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Thu Oct 27 14:30:04 2005

Original sender: Roma Network <romale@zahav.net.il>

Kosovo Roma want to take part in the negotiations on Kosovo’s future

Pristina, 25 October 2005: One day after the announcement by UN Security 
Council of the opening of the negotiations on Kosovo’s political status Kosovo 
Roma have requested to be admitted to these talks. In a letter addressed to 
high representatives of the international community and the EU representatives 
of the Kosovo Roma, Ashkalija and Egyptian communities have asked for an urgent 
solution of the problems of the Roma of the former Yugoslavia who have become 
victims of wars and racist violence, many of whom continue to live in limbo. 
The signatories of the letter including the main international Romani 
organisations and several hundreds of NGOs and individuals also asked for an 
immediate ban on the deportations of Roma, Askalija and Egyptians to Kosovo and 
for a recognition of their right to asylum.

During a meeting on the implementation of policies for Sinti and Roma convened 
by the end of last week by the Human Rights department of the OSCE, ODIHR, in 
Warsaw representatives of the Kosovo Roma communities agreed on a common 
platform for future cooperation. In an initiative supported by representatives 
of international Romani organisations and welcomed by the Deputy Head of 
Mission of the OSCE in Pristina, Ambassador Jens Modvig, they asked for the 
recognition of the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo Roma in the aftermath of the NATO-
bombing, a compensation for the victims of war-time damages, the return of 
occupied properties, the restauration of security and freedom of movement in 
Kosovo and a fair and impartial investigation in acts of racist violence and 
discrimination, equal representation and access to public institutions, 
effective access for the members of the non-Albanian communities to housing, 
education, health care and employment and appropriate assistance to IDPs and 
returnees. The supporters of the platform also demanded safeguards for the 
rights of the non-Albanian communities in the event that Kosovo should become 
independent and the recognition of Kosovo Roma as a constituent people of 
Kosovo. As a matter of emergency and in order to enable the coordination of the 
interests of a community which is today spread throughout the world they 
demanded the organisation of an international conference on the situation of 
the Kosovo Roma.

Roma once constituted the third largest ethnic community of Kosovo counting for 
an estimated 150,000. In the aftermath of the war and the departure of the 
Yugoslav army Roma were chased away and their houses and properties destroyed 
and looted. Despite the presisting volatility of the situation which is further 
exacerbated by the start of the negotions on Kosovo's political status Western 
governments as well as governments of the region have recently augmented 
pressures towards a return of Roma, Ashkalija and Egyptian refugees to Kosovo. 
International political attention has so far concentrated on the interests of 
the two main communities, the Kosovo Serbs and Albanians, whereas the smaller 
communities have been left out from the political processes.

For further information please contact:

Kosovo Roma and Ashkali Forum


+377 (0)44/252-051

International Romani Union

Bajram Haliti


Roma National Congress 

Asmet Elezovski 


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