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State of the World's Minorities 2007 - Kosovo

Publisher Minority Rights Group International
Publication Date 4 March 2007
Cite as Minority Rights Group International, State of the World's Minorities 2007 - Kosovo, 4 March 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48a971353c.html [accessed 19 December 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

In February 2007, the UN's special envoy, Martti Ahtisaari, presented his plans for Kosovo's future. Following the NATO-led war of 1999, which took control of Kosovo away from Serbia, the territory – with its majority Albanian population – remained an international protectorate under UN Security Council Resolution 1244. Mr Ahtisaari proposed that Kosovo be given limited independence, with international supervision. Under Ahtisaari's plan, the Serb minority would have guaranteed places in the local government and parliament, as well as representation in the police and civil service, and a special status for the Serbian Orthodox Church. However, MRG expressed concern that the needs of other smaller minorities – including the Roma and Turks – have been side-lined under the new proposals. These communities had effectively been marginalized from the UN discussions on the future of Kosovo. There are fears that if a new constitution is rushed through a matter of months, they would be excluded again.

The situation of minorities in Kosovo is perhaps the worst in Europe. Basic human rights including the right to life continue to be violated. People face harassment and physical violence for being who they are, for living in their homes if they belong to the 'wrong' community, or for speaking their own language. The authorities, thus far, have been unable or unwilling to bring those responsible for crimes to justice. This includes those responsible for ethnic cleansing after the establishment of the international protectorate in 1999 and again in Spring 2004. These waves of violence saw Kosovo's minority population diminish further and people forced to live in enclaves. Furthermore, segregation is institutionalized and discrimination in access to employment and public services such as health-care, is allowed to continue. MRG is extremely concerned that under the UN proposals, segregation will become even more deeply entrenched, and it will become even harder to translate the legal prohibition on discrimination into a practical reality on the ground.

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