2 July 2009 – The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg has sent an urgent appeal to the European governments to refrain from forced deportations to Kosovo. In a report on his fact-finding mission to Kosovo, which was conducted in late March, the Commissioner points out at the difficult social and economic situation as a major obstacle to a sustainable return process, but he also says that the security situation remains tense with sporadic occurrences of interethnic violence.
Addressing the situation of Roma, Ashkali and Kosovo Egyptians, the Commissioner says that they continue to face widespread discrimination in the field of education, housing, health care and social protection, and that they are more affected by poverty and unemployment. He further mentions the problem of lack of personal documents which further inhibits the full exercise of rights as well as the regularisation of property titles and informal settlements.
In a separate section of the report, the Commissioner addresses the situation of the several hundred Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian IDPs living in the lead-contaminated camps in Northern Mitrovica. He says that the consequences of lead poisoning in particular on the health of children are obvious and calls for an immediate relocation of the IDPs to a safe uncontaminated area and a treatment of all families affected.
The full report is available here.