IMADR Issues a Statement on Roma’s Situation in Kosovo.

IMADR issued on Nov. 28 a statement on the situation of the Roma in Kosovo/a addressed to the UN Secretary-General.

New York, 28 November 2000

The Secretary General of the United Nations

United Nations, New York, NY 10017

Mr Secretary-General,

The Board of Directors of the International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR), holding its 12th meeting in New York, examined among other issues the disturbing situation of the Roma minority in Kosovo. As a result the Board decided to write to you this communication in order to express serious concerns and to ask for effective measures to ensure protection of the security and integrity of Roma in Kosovo.

IMADR is an international NGO and has consultative status with the Economic and Social Council. It is composed of member organizations and individual members from Japan, other East and South Asian countries, Europe, North America, Latin America and Africa.

The Board of IMADR heard reports from Mr Romani Rose, one of the Board members and Chairman of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma, who visited Kosovo after consultation with the German Minister of Foreign Affairs and received on the spot important and relevant information from a variety of sources, including staff members of UNHCR and UNMIK.

The reported violations of the human rights of Roma in Kosovo include violent attacks against their lives and property, expulsion from their homes and territories. The Roma live under constant fear and intimidation because of shootings and killings by nationalist and extremist perpetrators, both at the Albanian and the Serbian side. From 150,000 Roma who were living in Kosovo, a minority integrated in the population for more than 800 years, only 40,000 are left. Their security is highly threatened.

In this regard the IMADR Board is mindful of the recent General Recommendation XXVII on discrimination against Roma adopted on 16 August 2000 by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Paragraph 12 aims:

To ensure protection of the security and integrity of Roma, without any discrimination, by adopting measures for preventing racially motivated acts of violence against them; to ensure prompt action by the police, the prosecutors and the judiciary for investigating and punishing such acts; and to ensure that perpetrators, be they public officials or other persons, do not enjoy any degree of impunity.

The IMADR Board recalls with deep sorrow the serious evils committed by the Nazis during World War II on Roma community by deportation and extermination. New genocidal practices must be prevented by all who carry responsibilities in Kosovo, notably the United Nations.

The IMADR Board appeals to you, Mr Secretary General, to bring our serious concerns to their urgent attention of all competent UN organs, including the Security Council, the United Nations Mission in Kosovo and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, with a view to taking effective measures to respect and guarantee the rights of Kosovo Roma to their motherland, to ensure protection of their security and integrity, and to secure equal opportunities for their participation in all central and local public bodies for the reconstruction of the society and the civil administration.

We very much count on your urgent assistance and cooperation. We would very much appreciate it if a delegation of our movement could give to you personally or to your close collaborators a further explanation of our concerns.

Please accept Mr Secretary General the assurances of our highest consideration.

Nimalka Fernando

IMADR President

Kinhide Mushakoji

IMADR Secretary-General