30 April 2008 – In a letter (click here for Romani translation) sent to the members of the European Parliament delegation for relations with the countries of South-East Europe, Roma NGOs expressed their disappointment about a recent visit of the delegation to Kosovo. The grouping made of Romano Them, the Kosovo Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian Forum and Durmish Aslano said that they were very disappointed that the delegation did not find time to meet with representatives of Roma civil society organisations.
The NGOs reminded that the Roma community in Kosovo has become the greatest collateral damage of the Kosovo conflict, and that discrimination and human rights violations against Roma and related groups are ongoing. Hence, the NGOs regretted the lack of outreach from the side of the international community toward Roma and related groups, and pointed out that those were not included in the status negotiation process.
In their letter, the NGOs opposed to the delegation’s statement according to which the new constitution is a model in terms of minority rights protection. Referring to the comments submitted by Romano Them and other NGOs in the context of the public consultation about the constitution, they pointed out that most of the safeguards included in the constitution for the protection of minorities will probably become void in the case of the Roma, as already today existing rights such as the right to receive education in mother tongue are not respected in the case of the Roma community.
They underlined that the Roma community in Kosovo is today too much weakened and too exposed to effectively protect its rights and invited the European Parliament delegation to a dialogue on how to preserve the rights of the Roma community in Kosovo.