The right to health is a fundamental right guaranteed under international human rights instruments and the local legal framework.

The lead contamination of the displaced Roma in northern Mitrovica/Mitrovicë camps is one of the biggest medical crises in the region. Since 1999, the displaced persons living in these camps, for whom no sustainable solution in terms of return to their place of origin or alternative relocation has been found, have been exposed to lead contamination.

This report is the result of the monitoring activity of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo (OSCE) regarding the human rights situation of non-Albanian communities. The report gives an overview of the development and current situation of the Roma population in the camps. Based on field data and secondary research collected by the OSCE over the recent years, the findings of the report present a major human rights concern with regard to the right to health. Despite several initiatives, no major progress has been achieved to improve the health status of the displaced Roma population.

The report calls upon local and central institutions to take action for sustainable and durable solutions for the displaced Roma exposed to a hazardous health environment in the northern Mitrovica/Mitrovicë camps. In order to ensure the full enjoyment of fundamental rights of the affected persons, immediate action has to be taken to stop further aggravation of their critical health situation through relocation from the contaminated places to a safe environment. In addition, immediate and appropriate medical treatment has to be provided to individuals with extremely high levels of lead contamination. Durable solutions should be explored to ensure the relocation of the displaced persons concerned is sustainable.

February 2009

The report is available here