14 April 2008 –  The Kosovo constitution, which was adopted by the Kosovo Parliament last week, does not take into account the concerns which were put forward by a coalition of Roma NGOs, Romano Them claims. According to the independent internet platform, this concerns in particular the issue of political representation and access to public employment as well as language rights.

In view on the planned forced repatriation of Roma to Kosovo, Romano Them is particularly concerned about the fact that the article, which is regulating access to citizenship, remained unchanged. The deliberate setting of the date of legal residence in Kosovo on the 1 January 1998 as a condition to be entitled to Kosovo citizenship, unduly penalises all those Roma who left Kosovo in the 1980s and early 1990s. Upon their forced return to Kosovo they may become aliens in their own homeland, Romano Them says.

Romano Them calls on the representatives of international organisations in particular the Council of Europe and the OSCE to use the remaining time before the constitution’s entry into force, scheduled on June 15th, to advocate for further changes in order to make sure that Roma have their rights guaranteed.

Romano Them