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OSCE releases two reports on human rights in Kosovo

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Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Mission in Kosovo / Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights

VIENNA / PRISTINA, 6 December 1999 -- The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe released two human rights reports today that document extensive human rights violations in Kosovo.

The first report, Kosovo/Kosova - As Seen, As Told, is an analysis of the human rights findings of the OSCE Kosovo Verification Mission. Hundreds of documents compiled in Kosovo up to 20 March 1999, and afterwards nearly 3,000 interviews with refugees in Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, were examined by an expert team at the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) in Warsaw.

The report presents probably the most extensive and systematic survey to date of human rights in Kosovo in the first half of 1999. A grim catalogue of violations is described, illustrated by the experiences of hundreds of individuals and communities. In particular, the report powerfully conveys a picture of Kosovo in the period of the NATO air campaign against Yugoslavia. Examining the actions of both sides to Kosovo's internal armed conflict, the report concludes that there was no semblance of balance in the human rights abuses committed. Overwhelming, it was the Kosovo Albanian population that suffered.

The second report, As Seen, As Told, Part II, documents the period between 14 June and 31 October 1999, when more than 800,000 Kosovar Albanian refugees returned to a war-torn Kosovo under KFOR protection and UN administration. The report analyses human rights conditions and events in each of the five regions of Kosovo and notes that the desire for revenge has been the primary motive for the vast majority of human rights violations. Kosovo Serbs, Roma, Muslim Slavs and others have been targeted by elements of the Kosovar Albanian population for expulsion, harassment, intimidation, house-burning, abductions and death.

The second report calls for thorough investigations into allegations as well as for an increase in international police and judicial experts to help break the cycle of violence in Kosovo. The report notes that deficiencies in law enforcement capabilities and the administration of justice have contributed to the climate of impunity within which human rights violations are more likely to occur.

The reports, together numbering more than 900 pages, as well as a background paper, are available on the internet at http://www.osce.org/kosovo/documents/reports/hr/part1/p0cont.htm

Press and Public Information Section
OSCE Secretariat
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A-1010 Vienna, Austria
tel: (+43-1) 514 36 180
E-mail: info@osce.org
Website: http://www.osce.org