As reported by Beta news agency, in an attack on Serbian families on 5 February 2006 in Cernica village, in Gilan town of Kosovo, the house of a Serbian family of six was hit. 45 houses have been burnt down since the end of the war in 1999 in Cernica village only. The population of Cernica is made up of mainly Albanians where around 200 Serbian families live.
Kosovo has been under UN rule for 6 years and the negotiations to finalize the status of Kosovo have been postponed to 20 February 2006 due to death of president İbrahim Rugova. It is believed that political instability has played an important role in the increasing attacks on the members of Turkish and Serbian minorities in recent months.
Human Rights Agenda Association (HRAA) is extremely concerned about the increase in violence directed at minority groups in Kosovo and the deterioration of the situation of human rights.
Similiarly in Mitroviça and Prizren where the Turkish minority is concentrated, violent incidents and attacks have taken place. Ethnic attacks often target religious places thus churches and mosques get destroyed one after the other in a chain of retaliation.
The inadequacy of UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) in providing political stability and the security for the communities outside Albanians in Kosovo and the involvement of KFOR (Peacekeeping force for Kosovo) soldiers in torture, maltreatment and human trafficking incidents have been documented in various reports.During HRRA’s introductory missions in Kosovo and Macedonia between 31 August – 07 September 2005, local and international authorities in the region made similar statements, confirming the findings of the reports.
HRAA believes that under the universal human rights law, the UN Mission in charge of Kosovo is responsible for protecting fundamental human rights and freedoms of Kosovan people under all circumstances, that it must treat all individuals and communities in an equal and just manner.
HRAA also calls on all groups that make up Kosovan society to avoid violence and respect humanitarian values.
HRAA thinks it is extremely important for the future of Kosovo that the multinational character of Kosovo is taken into consideration and the representation of all minority groups is secured in the final status negotiations of Kosovo.
Bkz: Kosovo Ombudsperson Institute Reports, www. ombudspersonkosovo.org; Kosovo: Failure of NATO, U.N. to Protect Minorities, Human Rights Watch, Brussels, July 26, 2004, http://hrw.org/english/docs/2004/07/27/serbia9136.htm; Failure to Protect: Anti-Minority Violence in Kosovo, March 2004, Human Rights Watch, HRW Index No.: D1606, July 26, 2004 Report, http://hrw.org/reports/2004/kosovo0704/ ; Amnesty International AI Index: EUR 70/010/2004, http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/engeur700102004
HRAA: Press Release
10 February 2006