No Security Guarantees for Roma in Kosovo European Roma and Travellers Forum Press Release
Strasbourg, 15 February 2007: After renewed violence in Kosovo involving two deaths, the president of the European Roma and Travellers Forum, Rudko Kawczynski, warned Roma not to travel to the province. To those who have remained there he recommended to prepare for an eventual evacuation and called on the international security presence to finally fulfil its mandate and guarantee the security of Roma.
“I am appalled to notice that almost eight years after the end of the war the international community has failed to rebuild a multiethnic Kosovo,” Mr. Kawczynski said, adding that following the proposal of UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari for a conditional independence of Kosovo and last weekend’s events he he was expecting further violence .
The president of the European Roma and Travellers Forum reminded that more than 150,000 Roma have been ethnically cleansed by Kosovo Albanian nationalists by the end of the war and that ethnic cleansing was conducted with the clear purpose to obtain an independent, monoethnic Kosovo. He announced the organisation of an international security conference with the topic of the persecution of Roma in Kosovo.
Kosovo once provided a home to about 200,000 Roma who inhabited this territory for almost 600 years. Most of them were ethnically cleansed from Kosovo in summer 1999 when the international community watched unprepared.
The European Roma and Travellers Forum is the international Romani interest representation which gathers Europe’s main international Roma organisations and more than 1,500 member organisations from most of the Council of Europe member states. In December 2004, the Forum signed a partnership agreement with the Council of Europe which provides for special relations between both organisations.
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European Roma and Travellers Forum c/o Council of Europe F – 67 075 Strasbourg