“Following the cessation of NATO action against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in June 1999 and the subsequent return of ethnic Albanians from abroad, approximately four fifths of Kosovo’s pre-1999 RAE population — an estimated 100,000 people — has been expelled from their homes. The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) conducted field research in Kosovo during the summer of 1999. This field research and subsequent missions in 2000, 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2006 documented numerous abuses after the withdrawal of Yugoslav forces from the region in early June 1999, primarily by ethnic Albanians intent on purging Kosovo of RAE individuals and communities, along with other minorities. Documented abuses include the killing of RAE by ethnic Albanians; abduction and illegal detention of RAE by ethnic Albanians; torture, beating and other physical abuse; rape; expulsions of Roma from homes and communities; house burnings; forced labour; forced entry into RAE houses; and confiscation of houses and other property.  Ethnic Albanians burned whole RAE settlements to the ground, in many cases while NATO troops looked on. A number of RAE individuals who disappeared during the summer of 1999 remain missing and are presumed dead.

Today, persecution of members of these RAE communities continues, manifested in their systematic exclusion from access to fundamental human rights. Racial discrimination against RAE communities in Kosovo is pervasive, depriving tens of thousands of their dignity. Anti-Gypsy sentiment among the ethnic Albanian majority is widespread. Today, RAE and others considered Gypsies in Kosovo live in a state of pervasive fear, fostered by routine intimidation, verbal harassment, and periodic racist assaults. Those negotiating Kosovo’s future have effectively abandoned the RAE communities.”

January 2007