According to information provided by the Roma and Ashkali Centre in Pristina Roma have started to leave Kosovo fearing an outbreak of new violence. During their field visits to the Serbian enclave of Gracanica nearby Pristina, the NGO found that at least seven families with 38 have already left.
Security concerns are the main reason driving Roma out of Kosovo. According to the NGO Roma are afraid to become targets of violent attacks following a unilateral declaration of independence. They are also concerned that neither the international forces nor the local troops will offer them protection.
The Roma community in Gracanica is one of the largest remaining Roma communities in Kosovo. An estimated number of 4,000 Roma live there, many of the former residents of the destroyed Roma Mahala in Pristina.
Source: Own posting
P.S.: On 9 November 2007, the Austrian newspaper “Der Standard” reported that the last 40 Roma have left the Serbian village of Strpce.
Update: According to recent information (18.12.07) from the Roma and Ashkali Documentation Centre in Pristina, the families that had left the Gracanica enclave have returned to their homes. Their fears were more particularly related to the 10th December, which was quoted as a day for a possible unilateral declaration of dependence by the Kosovo authorities.
The Kosovo Roma Website team has been investigating into this issue and found that there is a generalised atmosphere of fear among the Roma and other non-Albanian communities in Kosovo. We welcome any more detailed information on this issue. Please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org