Strasbourg, 22 September 2010 – The Migration Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has called on European governments to suspend planned returns of Roma to Kosovo* “until they can be shown to be safe and sustainable”.

Approving a report on “Roma asylum seekers in Europe” today in Skopje, the committee said these Roma faced “an unsustainable social situation with little chance of reintegration upon return, as well as serious threats to their personal security”.

Around 100,000 Roma who fled the conflict in Kosovo have been living in other parts of Europe with some form of temporary protection or as “tolerated”, but several countries are now preparing to return sizeable numbers, the committee pointed out. As of May 2010, in Germany for example, around 10,000 Roma from Kosovo are facing return, half of them under the age of 18.

Kosovo did not have the resources to successfully re-integrate these people, the committee said, adding that up to three-quarters of Roma already forcibly returned to Kosovo had moved on or gone back to the deporting countries. “Enforcing returns is thus not only producing great human suffering, but is also wasting economic resources.”

The committee’s recommendation, based on a report by Milorad Pupovac (Croatia, SOC) now goes forward for debate by the Assembly, which brings together parliamentarians from the 47 Council of Europe member states.

* All reference to Kosovo, whether to the territory, institutions or population, in this text shall be understood in full compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 and without prejudice to the status of Kosovo.

 

Full text of report PACE (provisional version): http://www.assembly.coe.int/CommitteeDocs/2010/20100921_roms_E.pdf