Challenges remain in promoting community rights in Kosovo, says new report of OSCE Mission
PRISHTINË/PRIŠTINA, 19 July 2012 – Despite an advanced legislative framework in place to protect and promote the rights of communities in Kosovo, only limited progress has been made in its implementation since 2010, says a report published today by the OSCE Mission in Kosovo.
The third edition of the Community Rights Assessment Report focuses on Kosovo institutions efforts to integrate Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities residing in Kosovo; support returns and reintegration; enhance use of official languages and inter-community dialogue; provide education; and advance socio-economic rights.
The Head of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, Ambassador Werner Almhofer, noted some positive developments since the last assessment: “The Kosovo authorities have allocated 3.4 million euros to aid repatriated persons, and the Kosovo police provide 24-hour protection at 23 Serbian religious and cultural heritage sites.”
“Despite certain improvement in access to education for Kosovo Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities, limited access to housing, healthcare and employment continue to be major obstacles to sustainable return and reintegration. We still have several Kosovo Roma and Ashkali families living in a lead-contaminated camp in Osterode.”
Other key challenges identified by the report include a lack of funds, political will and co-ordination between central- and local-level institutions.
The report further states that different communities in Kosovo rarely learn about each other or each other’s languages, and that the number of communities’ members employed in public administration does not meet the central and local level quotas.
The OSCE report includes recommendations on how to improve communities’ right protection. “We will continue supporting the Kosovo institutions in their efforts to comply with human and communities’ rights standards, building on positive achievements and using the available expertise,” said Almhofer.
The OSCE Mission in Kosovo is mandated with human and communities’ rights protection and promotion, democratization and public safety sector development. It monitors the work of Kosovo institutions, reports on human rights compliance, and provides advice and assistance as necessary.
The full text of the report can be accessed at: http://www.osce.org/kosovo/92244