Kosovo is a small territory, but it is home to a plethora of different communities. It is too often forgotten that Kosovo’s inhabitants include not just Albanians and Serbs, but also Ashkalia, Bosniacs, Croats, Egyptians, Gorani,Roma and Turks. All groups have suffered, and continue to suffer in Kosovo, wherever they are a minority (i.e. Serbs south of the River Ibar, Albanians to the north, and all other groups across the region). The situation, in particular the segregation between Albanians and Serbs, is getting worse.

This is in a large part down to the failures of international rule, which were most clearly shown by the failure of the peacekeeping forces to prevent the ethnic cleansing (largely of Serbs and Roma) that took place in spring 2004, and which has not been reversed. The only sustainable solution for Kosovo is one that applies minority rights – i.e. creates a society that fully protects the rights of all communities and all people in Kosovo, allowing everyone to live peacefully in an integrated society.

And yet it seems that many actors, including the international peacemakers, do not grasp what minority rights mean in practice and how they should be applied to the final settlement of Kosovo. Drawing on its extensive experience of similar situations worldwide and ongoing work in the region, this briefing paper outlines MRG’s five essential elements for a long-term solution for Kosovo.

6 December 2007