“31. The Ministry of Communities and Returns has agreed to ensure an appropriate level of funding for the management of Camp Osterode in the fiscal year 2009. The Ministry is also considering the prospect of contracting a local implementing partner to assume direct management functions of Camp Osterode from Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) from January 2009. NCA also offered to train the future local implementing part ner to facilitate the smooth handover of operations in January 2009.
32. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has allocated $2.4 million to support the sustainable resettlement and reintegration of 50 Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian families currently displaced and living in Camp Çesmun Llug/Cesmin Lug and Camp Osterode in northern Mitrovicë/Mitrovica. The Government of Norway has also allocated funds for the construction of 24 housing units in the Roma Mahalla.
33. The results of the blood tests conducted by the Institute of Public Health of Serbia in April 2008 on children currently living in the Çesmun Llug/Cesmin Lug and Osterode camps in northern Kosovo allegedly showed that, for all but two of the 104 children tested, lead levels in their blood exceeded the maximum acceptable levels. As the World Health Organization (WHO) was not involved in the testing, it has urged all stakeholders involved in testing lead levels in blood and in the environment to coordinate their activities with WHO.”
“Inhabitants of some camps for Roma IDPs suffer significant lead contamination, in particular in northern Kosovo where the relevant authorities failed to provide treatment and relocate the endangered population.”
European Commission: Kosovo 2008 Progress Report, 5 November 2008
“29. The Committee notes with concern that a number of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian families, who were relocated to the IDP camp at Cesmin Lug/Çesmin Llug after the demolition in 1999 of the “Roma Mahalla” in Mitrovicë/Mitrovica, prefer to remain in Cesmin Lug/Çesmin Llug, despite high levels of lead contamination, due to their lack of trust in a durable housing solution and because they fear that the IDP camp at Osterode, to which most Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian families have been relocated from lead contaminated IDP camps, is itself located near a lead contaminated site. It is also concerned that, according to some sources, children at the Osterode camp show high blood-lead levels and that the medical treatment for lead poisoning was discontinued in 2007. (article 11)
The Committee recommends that UNMIK, in cooperation with the Kosovo authorities, ensure that Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian families who prefer to stay at the IDP camp at Cesmin Lug/Çesmin Llug are adequately informed about the health risks involved and offered adequate alternative housing solutions which are culturally acceptable; (b) that the blood-lead levels of persons, especially children, living in the IDP camps at Cesmin Lug/Çesmin Llug, Osterode and Leposavić/Leposaviq are continuously monitored and that follow-up medical treatment is available in all three camps; (c) that phase 2 of the reconstruction of the “Roma Mahalla” is implemented and completed as soon as possible; and (d) that all Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian families who were relocated to IDP camps are progressively reintegrated into the “Roma Mahalla” and provided with adequate housing with legal security of tenure.”
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLES 16 AND 17 OF THE COVENANT, Document submitted by the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), Concluding Observations of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 19 November 2008
“557. The identification of significant levels of lead contamination in the blood of residents at an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Northern Mitrovicë/Mitrovica region in late 2005 led to an extensive analysis to determine the source of the lead pollution and provide short-term measures and a clear strategy on how to deal with the case. The analysis showed that the pollution was caused by illegal smelting of car batteries in the houses of some families, and not the entire population of 550 persons was equally affected.
558. To immediately ameliorate the health damage resulting from the lead pollution, the WHO and UNICEF responded with a list of nutrients to be provided to all members of those communities. This included higher intake of calcium foodstuffs, fruits and vegetables. Delivery of the food basket continues with a changing seasonal menu, and in response to changed needs.
Additionally, all members of the community were advised to improve personal hygiene for which a supply programme was established. The WHO also arranged for affected children to receive chelation therapy. The therapy itself lasts for 28 days but post treatment follow up may take six months.
559. UNMIK took over the former KFOR camp Osterode and began an extensive reconstruction programme to transform the facility into the temporary relocation site for the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian (RAE) community living in the three lead-polluted camps. The facilities were fully refurbished with the provision of additional sanitation units of acceptable standards. As the facility itself was inadequate to accommodate the entire community, prefabricated buildings were ordered and delivered.
560. In this context, measures to protect the health of affected RAE families included progress in the reconstruction process of the neighbourhood to which these IDPs would return. The Municipality issued construction permits for two apartment blocks that will host some of the inhabitants. Some of the potential beneficiaries, 61 RAE IDP families, moved out of the leadcontaminated camps in Northern Mitrovicë/Mitrovica and Zvečan/Zveçan into safer facilities in the northern part of Mitrovicë/Mitrovica, while 272 individuals remained by their own choice in the contaminated camps, despite the offer of safer alternatives.
562. It appears from informal reports that many RAE families are not satisfied with being asked to reside in apartments, rather than houses, and consequently resist taking up residence in the new buildings.”
United Nations Economic and Social Council: IMPLEMENTATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS, Document submitted by the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo under articles 16 and 17 of the Covenant, 15 January 2008