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On 29 September 2011, Jeta në Kosovo (Life in Kosovo) broadcast a debate on the issue of (forced) repatriation and (re-)integration into Kosovo society.

From the presentation:

“What happens to the dozens of people who every day landing repatriated from foreign countries at the airport in Pristina? Do they have where to go and where to live? In the case when most of them are children, who care for their registration in schools? A society deals with these people or do so only because of the liberalization of visa?

To discuss this issue, Jeta në Kosove has invited:
Verena Knaus, a researcher at UNICEF;
Vera Pula, the Open Society Foundation, KFOS;
Qylangjiu Daut, a journalist in the newsroom RTK Roma;
Sylvian Astier, from the Swiss Embassy;
Islam Caka, Ministry of Internal Affairs, or Director of Department for Citizenship, Immigration and migration in the ministry.

Before the debate, BIRN broadcast a documentary film which tells the true situation on the ground, focusing on children who are repatriated, in most cases do not know any of the languages spoken in Kosovo.”

Al Jazeera report, 24 November 2008

A filmwith Dr Florian Bieber, part of the Contested Spaces Video Project, University of Sydney.

Cardboard city in the heart of Belgrade

4000 Roma live in improvised houses under the Gazela bridge without electricity and water supply

Residents of the Roma cardboards settlement under the Gazela bridge in Belgrade have been living under inhuman conditions for years, without electricity and water supply. Cardboard boxes that have been brought to this illegal housing project served as a material for building improvised houses for 4000 Roma. -We are struggling here. We work with cardboard boxes and glass. We live in catastrophic conditions, but what can we do about it… Every house has a small wagon used for transportation of the cardboard Roma collect. They sell it at 1 dinar per kilo – said Nebojsa Saitovic, a resident of this housing project.

– In a day, we collect around 150 kilograms of cardboard, which is valued 150 dinars (less than 2 EUR). I work from 8 AM till dark for that money. Also, we collect glass jars, which for we are paid 3 dinars per kilogram. We are struggling, my friend, but the thing that hurts are the most is that we, Serbian Roma, receive such a small support. Roma from Kosovo are always the first to receive humanitarian aid. We get what is left after them. According to the residents of this housing project, their life got much more difficult after the flea market in New Belgrade was closed. They used to sell second hand goods on that flea market. Now, even if they manage to acquire “valuable” second hand goods, they dont have a place to sell it.

– We are hardly surviving. We appeal to the authorities to open a flea market where we can sell the goods. They want to relocate us to some other part of the city. What do they think? How are we supposed to work with cardboard then? From here, we hardly manage to transport it to Cukarica, where we sell it – says Radomir Azemovic and adds – in a tv report, they said that our children don’t want to go to school. That is not true. I am illiterate and I didn’t go to school. My child wants to go to school and it should. They don’t have a place to bath themselves. There is no electricity so they could study. A lot of other things are missing.

Source: Decade of Roma inclusion Web portal

Author: Freedom Fight – Pokret za slobodu,

More information:

CEE Bank Watch: The Belgrade Bypass and Gazela Bridge Projects, May 2007

diken tumen e terne so ciden amare roma
amari mahala anglal sa mali paris
akana sa praho cerde sar ano vjetnam
sa celo o barvalipa e romengo
akate ki europa zori si te avol kaj rome cher ili sadruga
ani kosova sa amen kret so manglam
akana nasti resa sa so manga
aven saste ko dicol.

Ces photos ont été collectionnées par Nedzo Neziri originaire de Mitrovica depuis 1999.
Kala slike si cerde katar o Nedzo Neziri katar o bers 1999.

“Ramadan Lahu is one of the Ashkali Roma. Before the war his family lived in Pristina and was on good terms with their Serb and Albanian neighbours. Today he lives among the ruins and squalor of a refugee camp. It’s still too dangerous for him to visit his house down the road, which was burnt down by the local Albanians when they came to power.

One sixth of the Roma community has disappeared from the province.”

Watch this story.

Kosovo is the living reminder of the ferocious disintegration of post-communist Yugoslavia. Its peoples, Albanians and Serbs, have suffered from ethnic discrimination, war, expulsion, foreign intervention, international administration, outright ethnic division and polarization. In the midst of talks on the status of Kosovo, the two main communities, Albanians and Serbs, remain divided and polarized as ever with Albanians demanding their right to an independent state of Kosovo and Serbs resisting fiercely the idea of letting go of their (technically and according to international law) province. After six years of direct international administration, the international community sees the current arrangement in Kosovo as not sustainable, but wonders whether this ill-defined and ill-prepared territory could make it as an independent state. While a solution has to be, first and foremost, the result of an agreement between Serbs and Albanians, it is difficult to see how the two diametrically opposed views can be reconciled. In this tense regional context, Mitrovica, is a city missing a centre, cut into a Serbian north and an Albanian south by the natural frontier of the Ibar river. As the last multi-ethnic urban centre in Kosovo, Mitrovica has been the ground of violent clashes between Serbs and Albanians and has seen its Roma population expelled and displaced. It is there that the effects of the final status will be first visible: the Serbs see it as their last bastion against Albanian domination; the international community sees it as challenge for a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural Kosovo; as for Kosovo Albanians, it would be a test on whether they could overcome their past resentment, they could respect and co-exist with their Serbian counterparts without resorting to violence or discrimination. In the meantime, everyone is terribly worried and prepares for the worst…

Dr Othon Anastasakis


South East European Studies at Oxford

The video is available here.

Running time: 22 minutes

Reportage sur les Roms exilés du Kosovo.