Pristina, 5 March 2008 – Roma activists have urged the Commission drafting Kosovo’s Constitution to ensure the new document enshrines their representation in key policy-making bodies.

The network of Roma non-governmental organisations sent a letter to the Commission in which they called for proper representation in Kosovo and expressed other concerns.

“The conditions which give access to public education in the mother tongue are unclear and may be undermined by the introduction of excessively high thresholds for the benefit of these rights,” says the letter.

It puts forward the concern over representation by saying “Roma should have reserved seats in all public bodies in particular those dealing with political, economic and security issues.”

They also called for a respect of the “qualified majority” in the processes of the decision making, particularly in Parliament.

Roma are one of the minorities in Kosovo, alongside Serb, Bosniak and Turkish communities, and some of them are believed to have been displaced from their homes, after the war in 1999.

“If Kosovo wants to become a multi-ethnic and democratic society and guarantee the return of the refugees it needs to reach out to its Roma population and not just seek their silent acquiescence,” the letter concludes.

Source: BalkanInsight