AI: Pressure against media, discrimination in Kosovo

There has been progress in Serbia regarding investigations into the murders of well-known journalists, but pressure against the media has increased.

Source: Beta, Tanjug

This was announced by Amnesty International, the Beta news agency reported.

The organization also said that has been no major progress in the prosecution of war crimes while the discrimination of minorities still exists.

Public commentaries which were critical of the authorities' response to the floods in May have been removed from government web-sites, and the police summoned individuals who criticized them, to "interviews", reads the AI's report about the state of human rights in the world in 2014.

The AI also pointed out the illegal arrest and deportation of 11 members of the human rights movement Falun Gong ahead of the summit with China, after their protest against the Chinese authorities was canceled.

Roma communities were disproportionately affected by the floods, and 31 Roma, 12 of them children, were denied access to collective shelters in Belgrade and were placed in bomb shelters without water and sanitation, the AI stated.

Threats and attacks against members of the LGBT population have not been effectively investigated and trials for hate crimes were rare, said the organization.

It was recollected in the report that at least 33 premises owned by Albanians were attacked after the incident with the drone at the Serbia-Albania football match.

Attacks and discrimination

Amnesty International (AI), a human rights NGO, stated in its annual report on the human rights situation in Serbia that Serbs are still subject to attacks and other minorities discriminated against in Kosovo, and a special court to try former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) is expected to be set up there as well.

“Violence in the north of Kosovo, inter-ethnic attacks and discrimination against minorities continued,” AI, one of the few international organizations still looking at the southern Serbian province as part of Serbia in its reports, observed in its 2014/15 international report on the state of the world's human rights, posted on the website of the organization on Wednesday.

Amnesty International said that some Serbian politicians had been prevented from entering Kosovo, and Kosovo Serbs, including returnees to Klina in February and October, had been subject to attacks - including arson - on their property, graveyards and religious buildings.

According to AI, these attacks intensified after a drone bearing a symbol of Greater Albania was flown over the pitch during a football match between Serbia and Albania in Belgrade in October last year.

“In Kosovo, a special court was proposed to try former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) (former ethnic Albanian paramilitary organization) for the abduction of Serbs in 1999,” AI said.

It further said that UNMIK had failed to provide reparation, including compensation, to the relatives of missing Kosovo Serbs, as recommended by the Human Rights Advisory Panel.

AI points out that Kosovo Serb political leader Oliver Ivanovic, arrested in January, was indicted in August for incitement to commit war crimes in 1999, and incitement to aggravated murder in February 2000.

When it comes to media freedom, AI observes that government and state agencies in Pristina unduly influenced the media and attacks on investigative journalists continued, with a journalist for a local newspaper receiving serious death threats after reporting on Islamic extremist groups.

Amnesty International also pointed to attacks and threats made based on sexual orientation and identity discrimination.

“Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians continued to face widespread and systematic discrimination, yet few measures for their integration were implemented,” AI said in the part of the document concerning discrimination against minorities.

The report said that by October, 11,000 people from Kosovo had applied for asylum in the EU and around 360 families (1,700 individuals) had reportedly migrated from Kosovo by November to seek asylum in Hungary.

According to UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, 17,227 people - the majority of them Kosovo Serbs - remained displaced after the armed conflict in 1999. By November 30, 2014 only 404 members of minority communities had voluntarily returned to Kosovo, where conditions for their reintegration remained grossly inadequate, AI said.


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Society Thursday, February 26, 2015 16:42 Comments: 1
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