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"All people in Kosovo are able to travel, work and live in safety and without threat or fear of attack, harassment or intimidation, regardless of their ethnic background. They are able to use their own language freely anywhere in Kosovo, including in public places, and enjoy unimpeded access to places of employment, markets, public and social services, and utilities."

Current Situation

Key to a sustainable multi-ethnic society is the ability of members of all communities to live in absence of fear or threat and to be able to access services essential to their economic, social and cultural well-being. These rights are not yet fully respected within Kosovo and, as a result of the March violence, the ability of members of ethnic communities to travel, work and live safely in Kosovo has been further undermined. The violent attacks against Kosovo Serbs, Roma, Ashkali and minority Kosovo Albanians in Mitrovica, have greatly exacerbated already existing fears held by ethnic communities, further inhibiting their ability to move freely. This deterioration in freedom of movement is evidenced by the need to reestablish fixed military checkpoints around some areas and villages in which ethnic community members live.

Protecting the right of persons to live in absence of fear and to access essential services involves the establishment and implementation of an effective framework of rights protection. As the events in March demonstrate, however, any project for multi-ethnicity simultaneously requires coordinated and extensive efforts to foster a climate of tolerance.

While freedom of movement most obviously involves unrestricted and safe access to public and private transportation, as well as the ability to move freely without threat to physical well-being, it also includes the possibility to co-exist in a society where language, social and cultural rights of all communities are protected.

Challenges Ahead

While concerns relating to Freedom of Movement were evident before the March violence, these events realized the worst fears of members of ethnic communities about their safety. Rebuilding this confidence must be a priority for Kosovo's political and civil society leaders. Meeting this standard will, therefore, necessitate that majority leaders at all levels undertake a broad range of activities that contribute to an environment that fosters tolerance and respect for diversity, especially with regard to the well-being of communities. In addition to public expressions of support for the ability of communities to move freely without threat to physical well being, active outreach to ethnic communities is crucial to instilling an understanding that their linguistic, social and cultural rights will be encouraged and protected.

Priority Actions

•  The PISG will design and implement a systematic program to reach out to the Kosovo Serb and other ethnic communities in order to rebuild trust and confidence between the communities. These efforts will also include planning medium and longer-term reconciliation and inter-ethnic dialogue strategies. Political leaders at the central level must exercise appropriate leadership towards local leaders to encourage their commitment to the process and to respond should they fail to demonstrate that commitment.

•  Municipal and ministerial authorities put a system in place allowing ethnic communities to request that the names of cities, towns, villages, streets, roads and public places are expressed in the language of their communities, and those requests are implemented in a timely fashion in all areas where ethnic communities members currently live or lived in 1999 in significant numbers.

•  The PISG will take immediate efforts to implement the recommendations of the Task Force on Language Standards Compliance. In accordance with those recommendations, all public institutions need to take the appropriate measures in order to ensure adequate interpretation and translation services for minorities, including translation in a timely manner of all official documents, so that minority participation is ensured in the public sphere of the multi-cultural environment in Kosovo. This will require also adequately trained staff and technical facilities with sufficient funding from municipal and ministerial KCB funding. Members of all ethnic communities must also be able to receive their personal documentation in the official languages of Kosovo, as well as in to the language of the individual.

1. Freedom of Movement >>>
PDF file - 17.2 KB

2. Free use of language >>>
PDF file - 14.9 Kb


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