Kosovo: Province is a Human Rights "Black Hole" for Serbs, Official Warns

Published on June 6, 2006, ADN Kronos Internatioal (Italy)

Category: Violence Against Christian Serbs and Their Holy Places

Refugees leaving Kosovo
Belgrade, (AKI) - The ethnic Albanian majority southern province of Kosovo's tiny Serb minority is facing annihilation, a senior Serb official on Tuesday warned the UN chief representative in Kosovo, Soren Jessen Petersen. The Serbian government's coordinator for Kosovo, Sanda Raskovic Ivic told Jessen Petersen that Kosovo is a ‘black hole’ when it comes to human rights, blaming the international community for not doing its job there. Since the continuing talks on Kosovo's final status started last October, 186 ethnically motivated incidents against Serbs have taken place, including two murders and 20 serious injuries. There will soon be no Serbs in Kosovo if the present situation continues, Raskovic Ivic told Jessen Petersen in a letter. She pointed out that 140,000 remaining Serbs in Kosovo live in isolated ghettos, without freedom of movement and basic human rights, including the “right to live”. Serb officials have previously accused Petersen of bias in his support for the ethnic Albanian drive for independence. Serbs in Kosovo were the victims of constant harassment and even murders by the majority ethnic Albanians, Raskovic Ivic stated. “Today, Kosovo and Metohija (the Serbian name for the province) is a ‘black hole’ when it comes to human rights, and many democratic countries keep assaulting the territorial integrity of Serbia through their officials and lobbyists,” said Raskovic. "Serbs are the most endangered ethnic group in Europe. Today an ethnocide is being carried out on its soil front of the international police force, which simply looks the other way, not wishing to see the reality,” she said. Raskovic Ivic blamed the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) for "killing even the Serbian word" by censuring its press. "Only this time the gunshot did not come from an Albanian sniper, it was fired from UNMIK’s office,” Raskovic concluded. The dramatic letter, distributed to the press, was written on the eve of the seventh anniversary of Kosovo being put under UN control in June 1999 and ahead of Petersen’s imminent report to the UN Security Council on the situation in Kosovo. Over 3,000 Serbs have been killed or listed as missing since the province was put under United Nations control in 1999. Belgrade and local Serbs oppose Kosovo's independence, which they regard as the birthplace of their state, preferring a form of broad autonomy for the province. According to signals from world powers, the international community is now moving towards granting Kosovo independence - wanted by most of its 1.7 million ethnic Albanians. (Vpr/Aki)

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