Photo: Pro Asyl.
Report on the situation of Kosovo Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians deported from Germany to Kosovo on www.proasyl.de In german): http://www.proasyl.de/fileadmin/fm-dam/q_PUBLIKATIONEN/09_10_16_BHP_PA_Kosovo.pdf.
The situation of the RAE community in Mitrovica is especially grave, the city is still a critical borderline, divided in the serb community in the nort and the albanian community in the southern part. Roma are most vulnerable to spontaneous outbreaks of ethnic violence, the incidents of summer 2009 speak a clear language...
21 years old and already lined through sorrow, pain and illness. Fathmire is living with her parents and her little daughter near the old railway to the Trepca mining complex, one of the places with the highest lead concentration in Cesmin Lug. The whole family is suffering from the consecuences of lead contamination: the so called "blue line" or halo saturninus,kidney diseases, breathing difficulties and cancer...
After the signing of the bilateral agreement of resettlement between Berlin and the Kosovo government in Pristina, Germany prepared the deportation of more than 10.000 Roma refugees; they were seeking asylum in Germany since the war in 1999 and now UNHCR is advicing against involuntary return to Kosovo. Roma and Ashkali in Kosovo are living under the menace of pauperization and ethnic violence. Also Amnesty International urges the german government to stop this wave of deportation of Roma refugees and prognosticates that the situation in Kosovo will not change in the next years...
Prior to the 1999 conflict, Roma Mahala in the southern part of Mitrovica town was inhabited by 7000 - 8000 Roma Ashkali Egyptians (RAE) residing in approximately 750 houses. The former inhabitants of Roma Mahala are all now living in displacement; about 611 persons in northern Kosovo, some in Serbia Proper and Montenegro, and some in Western Europe.
Until March 2006, the IDPs in northern Kosovo lived in four camps situated in North Mitrovica, Zvecan and Leposavic municipalities and have been constantly calling for return to their place of origin since 2000. 80% of the Roma residing in the camps in North Mitrovica belong in Roma Mahala.
In 2004 World Health Organization had found high lead levels on the soil and air in the camps of Cesmin Lug, Kablare and Zitkovac. Institue for Public Health had taken the blood samples from the humans in these camps and found the biggest lead levels even found in humans blood’s history.
The camps of Osterode and Cesmin Lug are heavily contaminated with lead due to years of operations by the TREPCA mining company. Analysis of soil samples taken by the World Health Organization (WHO) confirm that the levels of lead are so high as to constitute serious health hazards to the Roma population, particularly children below 6 years of age and pregnant women.
Two Roma communities, approx. 169 families, 611 individuals are targeted for emergency evacuation: Osterode (112 families, 418 individuals), Cesmin Lug (57 families, 193 individuals). There are a total of 206 children aged 0-12.
The World Health Organization’s Regional Office for Europe has identified excessive levels of environmental lead contamination, together with high human lead intoxication in camps of Osterode and Cesmin Lug.
Since 2000, WHO has called for interventions to address this public health emergency through: alleviation of the environmental exposure; provision of a “lead-safe” environment; provision of “lead-safe” occupations; improvement of public health (addressing poor living conditions and poverty), and provision of adequate case management and treatment for the affected population.
Since 2005 a comprehensive package of interventions has been delivered to the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian (RAE) residents of temporary camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs).
The environmental hazard is still a risk to human health to the whole population of RAE IDP Camps. Today, after 10 years of displacement, the RAE still remain in these camps until the permanent solution is found by the International Community. Most of them are registered under the social welfare, their only income and work is to collect the metal, plastic, paper to sell.
The german NGO Pro Asyl released a press statement (15.10.2009) on the actual situation of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians in Kosovo (in german): http://www.proasyl.de/de/presse/detail/news/aktuelle_recherche_bestaetigt_abgeschobene_roma_haben_im_kosovo_kaum_chancen_auf_ein_menschenwuerdige/back/714/
"Ein heute veröffentlichter Recherchebericht bestätigt: Die geplanten Abschiebungen von Roma in das Kosovo sind unverantwortlich. Abgeschobene haben im Kosovo kaum eine Chance, eine menschenwürdige Existenz zu begründen. Ihnen steht ein Leben am Rande des physischen Existenzminimums bevor. Ihre Menschenrechte auf körperliche Unversehrtheit, auf Zugang zu Gesundheitsversorgung und Bildung bleiben auf der Strecke. Zudem können sie sich keineswegs sicher fühlen, wie gewalttätige Übergriffe im Sommer dieses Jahres belegen. PRO ASYL fordert deshalb die neue Bundesregierung auf, die begonnenen Abschiebungen von Roma und Serben in das Kosovo zu stoppen."
watch the report about Roma refugees in Germany waiting for deportation to Kosovo, broadcasted on the german TV newscast Tagesschau (14.10.2009): http://www.tagesschau.de/multimedia/video/video585766_bcId-_ply-internal_res-flash256_vChoice-video585766.html
Article in the german newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung: http://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/525/490897/text/ (in german). 10.000 Roma in Germany are waiting for deportation to Kosovo. It is no secret that in most places in Kosovo they will suffer social and racial exclusion...
Our supporter, the "Society for threatened people" is an intenational human rights organisation and has its main focus on ethnic or religious minorities and/or nationalities. The United Nations recognised their labour and accredited them with the status of a formal consultant organisation.
Also, the "Society for threatened people" is represented in the European Council.
The history of the "Society for threatened people" goes back to 1968 when Tilman Zülch and Klaus Guercke founded the "Aktion Biafra Hilfe" to fight against famine and genocide in Biafra, Nigeria. Since 1970 the organisation is called "Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker" and maintains sections in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Chile.
Thanks to our partner Fraben Griesbeck from Miesbach. The experienced staff of the family business in this little bavarian town will frame the pictures for the exhibition of A forgotten promise. Also Farben Griesbeck donates three wooden frames for A forgotten promise! It is possible to collaborate with A forgotten promise by "adopting" one frame for 44,00 Euro. The sponsor will receive a photograph and her/his name is mentioned on the plate which goes along with the picture in the exhibition. For more information just contact Anita Griesbeck (info@Farben.Griesbeck.biz) or A forgotten promise (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Report of a visit to the camps of Osterode and Cesmin Lug in Kosovska Mitrovica(in german)written by Eva Klippenstein for Flüchtlingsrat Niedersachsen: http://www.nds-fluerat.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Informationsreise-in-das-Kosovo-09.pdf
The human rights organisation Chachipe condemned last week the deportation of a group of Roma refugees from Germany to Kosovo with hard words and called these actions a large dimensioned „human experiment“. The revokation agreement between the government of Kosovo and Germany from the begining of 2009 contravenes the UN-guidelines concerning this issues. Read the entire article (in german) on: http://www.roma-kosovoinfo.com/
Article from Javno, a croatian multimedia news portal, published in June 2009, during my stay in Mitrovica. "Some 8,000 Roma whose houses were destroyed during the 1998-99 Kosovo war found temporary refuge in Cesmin Lug Camp outside Trepca mine." Read the entire article: