Prishtina/Pristina, 1 April 2009 – The Ombudsperson Institution on 1 April 2009, published the ex officio report on the investigation concerning the issue of lead contamination affecting the Roma community living in the camps located in the northern part of Mitrovicë/Mitrovica since 1999.

According to this the Ombudsperson Institution concluded that the elements of the case give rise to a continuous violation by UNMIK of more than one international human rights standards directly applicable in Kosovo, among which the right to life, the right to health, the right to adequate housing, the principle of non-discrimination and several rights enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The Ombudsperson Institution also observed that the Kosovo government is now entrusted with the responsibility to resolve this health emergency situation.

The Acting Ombudsperson, Hilmi Jashari, recommended the immediate and sustainable relocation of the Roma population living in the camps in the North in a location where their safety and dignity are guaranteed and the construction of adequate housing regardless whether they are able to prove a right of property or ownership in the south part of Mitrovicë/Mitrovica or in other municipalities in Kosovo.

The Acting Ombudsperson also called for the immediate intervention of the Ministry of Health, in cooperation with the Ministry of Communities and Return, in order to improve the health condition of the Roma population still living in the camps and/or still affected by the lead contamination.

Source: Office of Ombudsperson Institution in Kosovo

See also: Letter of the Acting Ombudsperson to the Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Tachi