28 September 2010 – The European Commission has called on the member states to fully respect EU migration law while deporting Roma people to Kosovo, where they are at risk of discrimination and violence. “The Commission is aware that Roma Kosovars face particular risk of prosecution or serious harm in Kosovo. It is up to the member states to make sure that when dealing with this specific group, which is facing harm or threat in its country of origin, all the necessary provisions are applied,” said the spokesperson of Cecilia Malmström, the commissioner for home affairs, on 28 September. The spokesperson commented on a report issued by Amnesty International the same day, in which the London-based organisation strongly condemned EU member states, including Germany, for putting Roma Kosovars at risk of “persecution, or other serious harm” by forcing them to return to Kosovo. The report said that EU countries have been quietly deporting Roma people back to Kosovo for over a year.
Sian Jones, Amnesty’s Kosovo expert, said EU countries risked breaking international law by sending Roma people back “to places where they are at risk of persecution, or other serious harm”. Discrimination against Roma in Kosovo is “widespread and systematic compounded by their perceived association with Kosovo Serbs,” said Amnesty. “The EU should instead continue to provide international protection for Roma and other minorities in Kosovo until they can return there safely,” added Jones.
The Commission said it was “closely monitoring the issue” but underlined that dealing with non-EU citizens like Roma Kosovars falls under national law in the first place. It made clear that Roma deportations to Kosovo is a separate issue from Roma expulsions by France.