Kosova-o - Part 28

posted by julia on 2006/06/25 16:59

[ Kosova-o ]

The Vienna-based International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights has been following the human rights situation in Kosovo since the 1980s and has recently issued a statement following a fact-finding mission to Kosovo from 18-22 June 2006 together with the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Croatian Helsinki Committee, the Kosovo Helsinki Monitor, and the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia. Here are their recommendations:
1. Efficient investigation and prosecution of all criminal cases must be carried out, with a particular emphasis on those that appear to be ethnically motivated. The police and judiciary must inform the public, especially to members of the communities concerned, about the progress and results of the cases.

2. Authorities in Kosovo, including UNMIK, the OSCE, the Kosovo government and municipalities must fully support the protection of human rights through judicial processes and promote human rights in order to build confidence of all Kosovo inhabitants in their institutions. This can only be achieved if human rights are recognized as intrinsic values. These values should not be manipulated for political ends, and their implementation cannot be put on hold awaiting the resolution of the status issue or other political goals.

3. Kosovo civil society must take an active role in the promotion of human rights for all. Trust between members of the different ethnic communities in Kosovo can only be rebuilt through establishing truth, sincere dialogue and genuine reconciliation. We emphasize the need of a more proactive role of the local civil society in protecting and promoting human rights. In that context we especially underline the role of local human rights NGOs. Kosovo leaders, civil society and media should express sympathy with victims of violence, in cases that may be perceived to have ethnic and / or political motivations and implications.

4. The situation of the media seems to have improved since March 2004, and they could play a very important role in raising the awareness on the human rights issues, particularly the human rights of minorities, to the wider public. (source: IHF)

The first recommendation echoes a recent report by Human Rights Watch on the criminal justice reponse to the March 2004 violence in Kosovo: Not on the Agenda. The Continuing Failure to Address Accountability in Kosovo Post-March 2004 (cf. press release). According to HRW, response to the March 2004 violence has been completely inadequate and "accountability (for violence against minorities) remains a distant goal in Kosovo".


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