Strasbourg, 9 December 2010 – “The German government should avoid any further forced returns to Kosovo*. The infrastructure and resources available there are in fact not adequate for the sustainable integration of returnees. Many of them, in particular Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian families with children, have been severely affected, not least because of discrimination, marginalisation and fear for their safety” said the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, publishing today a letter addressed to the German Federal Minister of the Interior, Thomas De Maizière. The letter follows up on meetings with representatives of the German authorities that the Commissioner held last October in Berlin.

The Commissioner also remains seriously concerned about the lead-contaminated camps of Osterode and Leposavic, in northern Mitrovica, where some returnees from western European countries, including Germany, have ended up.

As regards the conduct of law enforcement officers, the Commissioner encourages the German federal and regional authorities to consider the development of the existing mechanisms by introducing an independent police complaints body. He also invites the German government to provide him with more information on the measures adopted to identify individual police officers, especially when their equipment and uniform make them unidentifiable. “Public trust in the police is of paramount importance in democratic societies. Accountability and transparency of police forces are necessary conditions for such trust to exist” added the Commissioner.

Source: Council of Europe