October 18, 2003

ERP KIM Newsletter 18-10-03

KOSOVO SERB DIES OF STARVATION


Only 15 out of 10.000 pre-war Kosovo Serbs live in Urosevac today
In June 1999, after the deployment of the UN/KFOR Mission thousands of
elderly Serbs were evicted from their homes or left to isolation in their homes
(ERP KIM photo arvhive, two elderly Serbs evicted from their homes by ethnic Albanians, June 1999)

ELDERLY KOSOVO SERBS BETWEEN CHOICE OF BEING MURDERED OR STARVED OF HUNGER

SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH SHOCKED BY LACK OF CARE FOR ELDERLY SERBS IN MAJOR KOSOVO CITIES

ERPKIM Info-service
Gracanica, October 17, 2003
 

Bishop Artemije expressed today his shock and deep regret because of death of Zivorad Velikinac, one of 15 remaining elderly Serbs in Urosevac who died of starvation.

 "It is incomprehensible that no one in Kosovo cares for these poor people who are left to slow dying. Regrettably, Serbian Orthodox Church and its clerics do not have freedom of movement and cannot regularly visit their isolated parishioners. Our pastoral work is limited only within Serb enclaves. Most of our isolated elderly people do not have normal access to shops and medical institutions, Albanian hooligans break their windows and threaten to kill them every day. Sometimes their Albanian neighbors give them some food to survive but these are rare examples because such good minded Albanians can suffer themselves for showing solidarity with Serbs. I am afraid, this will not be the only case of starvation because humanitarian organizations mostly employ local Albanian personnel who simply want all Serbs to die or leave their homes. Such silent ethnic cleansing of Kosovo cities in front of eyes of the democratic world deserves utmost condemnation", said Bishop Artemije to the ERP KIM Info-Service. Such inhuman society, which we have in Kosovo today, is unique in Europe and the civilized world, and I am at the loss to find a proper word how hatred can conquer the hearts of so many that they even do not show mercy towards the elderly and children.

An elderly Kosovo Serb, Janko Jankovic (72) who was beaten in Prizren two weeks ago and Mrs. Sofijana Jovanovic (72) who was shot and wounded in Gnjilane a few days later are only some of the recent attacks on elderly Kosovo Serbs who are deprived of basic security and social care. Direct responsibility for such indifference towards these poor people who struggle to survive in their homes desite ethnic hatred and overall discrimination lies on UNMIK and local Albanian structures which build society only to serve the needs of ethnic Albanians", added Bishop Artemije.

Once again I appeal on all responsible institutions in UNMIK not to allow ethnic cleansing of our remaining elderly people who have done no harm to anyone but only want to stay in their homes and spend their last years in peace and dignity.

CONTENTS:

KOSOVO SERB DIES OF STARVATION
"He was completely devastated by hunger and physically resembled the inmates of [the WWII concentration camp] Auschwitz. Although he lived in downtown Urosevac, he had eaten nothing for more than 15 days because his Albanian neighbors stopped bringing him food and he did not dare venture out on the street," said Dr. Nebojsa Srbljak, the internist who treated Velikinac.

PRISONERS IN THEIR OWN HOMES - ELDERLY KOSOVO SERBS

NEW SERB-ALBANIAN TALKS NEXT YEAR

High level talks between Serbs and Albanian may be held in 2004, said UNMIK chief Harri Holkeri, following the anticlimactic Vienna dialogue on Tuesday between Belgrade and half a delegation from Pristina.

COMMANDER OF SERB-MONTENEGRIN ARMY MEETS COMKFOR
Speaking to media after the meeting in the border town of Merdare, Kamerholf said that the peace and stability along the border was KFOR’s greatest success and had been achieved thanks to excellent cooperation with the Serbian-Montenegro Army and Serbian police.

 

PERPETRATORS OF GORAZDEVAC MASSACRE STILL NOT ARRESTED - DAY 64...

More News Available on our:

KOSOVO DAILY NEWS LIST (KDN)
KDN Archive

This newsletter is available on our ERP KIM Web-site:
/erpkiminfo.html


KOSOVO SERB DIES OF STARVATION
"He was completely devastated by hunger and physically resembled the inmates of [the WWII concentration camp] Auschwitz. Although he lived in downtown Urosevac, he had eaten nothing for more than 15 days because his Albanian neighbors stopped bringing him food and he did not dare venture out on the street," said Dr. Nebojsa Srbljak, the internist who treated Velikinac.
 

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Beta News Agency, Belgrade
October 17, 2003

Urosevac Serb dies of starvation

(photo Beta: Today there are some 15 Serbs living in Urosevac and formerly there were 10,000. Once a week they are escorted by international forces to do their shopping in the closest Serb town, Strpce)


KOSOVSKA MITROVICA - Zivorad Velikinac (65) of Urosevac passed away at Kosovska Mitrovica Hospital after being brought to the hospital two days ago by KFOR members for treatment for starvation.

"He was completely devastated by hunger and physically resembled the inmates of [the WWII concentration camp] Auschwitz. Although he lived in downtown Urosevac, he had eaten nothing for more than 15 days because his Albanian neighbors stopped bringing him food and he did not dare venture out on the street," said Dr. Nebojsa Srbljak, the internist who treated Velikinac.

After Velikinac's demise last night, his body was claimed by relatives. He had no children. He will be buried in Kraljevo.

Today there are some 15 Serbs living in Urosevac and formerly there were 10,000. Once a week they are escorted by international forces to do their shopping in the closest Serb town, Strpce.

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Krstovic: Serb death by starvation international community's shame

KOSOVSKA MITROVICA - The head of the Return Coalition (Povratak) Dragisa Krstovic said today that the death by starvation of a 65 year-old Serb man from Urosevac, Zivorad Velikinac, is the shame of Europe and the international community.

"It is shameful that people are dying of starvation today in the civilized world," said Krstovic. "It is a shame shared by the international community and international peacekeeping forces that have failed to provide Serbs with freedom of movement and the most basic of living conditions."

Velikinac passed away last night in Kosovska Mitrovica Hospital after being brought there on October 14 by KFOR members for treatment for starvation.

He had eaten nothing for the past month because he did not dare leave his home out of fear that the ethnic Albanians would kill him.

Today there are some 15 Serbs living in Urosevac and formerly there were 10,000. Once a week they are escorted by international forces to do their shopping in the closest Serb town, Strpce.

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Milan Ivanovic: UNMIK responsible for Serb death by starvation in Urosevac

"Barely speaking, Velikanac said that he had eaten nothing, absolutely nothing, for the past month because he did not dare leave his home out of fear that the ethnic Albanians would kill him," said Ivanovic.



Today the president of the Serb National Council of Northern Kosovo Milan Ivanovic accused UNMIK and the international community of being responsible for the death of Zivorad Velikinac (65) of Urosevac by starvation.

He told Beta News Agency that KFOR and UNMIK still have not ensured freedom of movement and security for Kosovo Serbs and other non-Albanians.

Ivanovic, who is also a physician in Kosovska Mitrovica, confirmed that Velikinac had died of starvation.

He said that Velikinac was admitted to hospital on October 14 and that he died the next day as a result of weeks of hunger.

According to Ivanovic, Velikinac looked like an inmate from the Nazi concentration camps during World War II.

"Barely speaking, Velikanac said that he had eaten nothing, absolutely nothing, for the past month because he did not dare leave his home out of fear that the ethnic Albanians would kill him," said Ivanovic.

After Velikinac's demise last night, his body was claimed by relatives. He had no children. He will be buried in Kraljevo.

Today there are some 15 Serbs living in Urosevac and formerly there were 10,000. Once a week they are escorted by international forces to do their shopping in the closest Serb town, Strpce.


PRISONERS IN THEIR OWN HOMES - ELDERLY KOSOVO SERBS
Two reports on life of the remaining Serbs in Kosovo from April 2003 (Amnesty International and BBC)
 

Poleksija Kastratovic - one of 5 remaining elderly Serb women in Djakovica Four years after the war they live within the courtyard of their tiny parish-home "If there had not been Decani monks and Italian soldiers we would have starved of hunger beside 100.000 ethnic Albanian neighbors", Poleksija says with pain in her heart. Like ancient  Anna in the New Testament Poleksija, a former school teacher, spent all her life taking care of her beloved church of Virgin Mary. Her only guilt is that she is a Serb woman.  Read the full story /poleksija_e.html
 

AI Index: EUR 70/014/2003
Date: 29 April 2003

Kosovo:
Minorities are prisoners in their home

full report: www.suc.org/projects/Kosovo/documents/amnesty.pdf

Almost four years after the end of the war in Kosovo, minority communities are still at risk of ethnically motivated killings and assaults, Amnesty International said as it launched its report "Prisoners in our own homes: Amnesty International's concerns for the rights of minorities in Kosovo/Kosova today.

The organization's report details how minority communities in Kosovo are denied effective redress for acts of violence and other threats to their physical and mental integrity. The impunity for such human rights abuses has effectively denied them freedom of movement and restricted their access to basic rights -- in particular, their rights to employment, health care and education.

"Unless such rights can be guaranteed, minority refugees and internally displaced people in other parts of Serbia and Montenegro will be unable to return to their homes," Amnesty International said.

"As the future of Iraq is debated, the international community must learn the lessons of the past and ensure that measures are put in place to protect the human rights of vulnerable groups as well as to ensure, from the outset, that there is no impunity for the perpetrators of human rights abuses."

Amnesty International's report documents how the international authorities in Kosovo were unprepared for the massive abuses of human rights against minorities that accompanied the rapid return of the Albanian community. Although violent attacks on minorities have measurably declined since the months immediately following the end of the conflict in July 1999, these attacks still continue.

The fact that the vast majority of ethnically motivated crimes remain unsolved reinforces people's perception that perpetrators remain free to commit further attacks and contributes to the climate of fear. The impunity for past and continuing abuses denies minorities living in Kosovo the basic rights guaranteed under domestic law and international standards applicable in Kosovo.

In one case, Amnesty International interviewed two young Serb women and their grandmother who live in the centre of Prizen. Their house was surrounded by a fence topped with barbed wire erected by KFOR. After an intruder had entered their house through the roof, KFOR soldiers had lived with them and had even done their shopping for them to protect them from attack.

"The daily intimidation faced by the minority Serb, Bosniak, Gorani, Roma, Ashkali and Egyptiani communities in Kosovo has restricted their freedom of movement. The fear of travelling outside mono-ethnic enclaves has contributed to feelings of imprisonment and exclusion and denied minorities access to basic rights and services such as housing, education and medical treatment," Amnesty International said.

Amnesty International's report also highlights how members of minority communities face discrimination in access to basic social and economic rights, including health, education and employment.

"In the absence of access to adequate health-care, there has been a reported increase in mortality rates and the incidence of illnesses in some minority communities," Amnesty International stated.

"In some places minorities don't have access to basic medicines -- at some ambulanta even aspirin is unavailable."

In emergencies, patients have to telephone KFOR or go to a KFOR check-point to await an escort to a hospital, sometimes with fatal delays.

"Security is the main problem for minority children in exercising their right to education," Amnesty International said.

Within enclaves there is great difficulty in recruiting qualified teachers. For children living outside the enclaves, going to school often means a KFOR-escorted journey of several kilometres; for 20 children in a small Serb community in Pristina/Prishtinë this means a daily KFOR escort to an elementary school in Llapje Selo/Llaplasellë, eight kilometres away. A primary school teacher in Prizren is collected from her house on Mondays by a KFOR armoured personnel carrier which takes her to the village where she teaches, where she remains until Friday when she is escorted back home.

Employment is severely restricted: it is estimated that up to 90 per cent of the Serb and Roma population are officially unemployed -- Serbs in particular were universally dismissed in June 1999 from jobs in state-owned industries or public service.

Under UN Security Council resolution 1244/99, UNMIK was charged with the responsibility of protecting and promoting human rights. Amnesty International calls on UNMIK and the Provisional Institution of Self-Government to seriously address the issue of impunity and take measures to guarantee the rights of minorities already living in Kosovo. This must be done in order to ensure that minorities from Kosovo, who are refugees abroad or internally displaced in Serbia and Montenegro, may exercise their right to return to Kosovo in safety and in dignity.

"While the viability of return continues to depend on KFOR's presence, Amnesty International urges the international community to ensure that no one from a minority community is forcibly returned to Kosovo," Amnesty International concluded.

The full report is available at: http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGEUR700102003


For further information, please contact:
John Tackaberry,
Media Relations
(613) 744-7667 #236


One of many elderly Kosovo Serbs who have been thrown out of their
homes by ethnic Albanians - Maria Filipovic, from Prizren

Monday, 28 April, 2003, 20:08 GMT 21:08 UK
Kosovo minorities 'under threat' - BBC

Serbs and other ethnic minorities in Kosovo remain at serious risk of death or injury despite almost four years of peace and the presence of UN and Nato peacekeepers, a new report by Amnesty International says.

Tuesday's report, titled Prisoners in our own homes, says beatings, stabbings, abductions, drive-by shootings and the use of hand grenades to intimidate and kill members of these minorities are common in the province.

As the vast majority of these crimes remain unsolved, perpetrators are free to commit further attacks contributing to a climate of fear and the denial of basic human rights, it adds.

Ethnic minorities in Kosovo, of which the largest are the Serbs and Roma, make up about 8% of the predominantly Albanian population.

Lesson

The report describes the daily lives of children living in mono-ethnic enclaves who are forced to have a K-for armed escort to school.

It says that discrimination in healthcare has led to an increase in mortality rates among minority communities, and up to 90% unemployment among the Serb and Roma communities.

Ethnic Albanians living in areas of Kosovo where they are in the minority suffer the same security concerns and restrictions on their freedom of movement.

Kate Allen, the UK Director of Amnesty, said that failures by the international community in Kosovo should serve as a lesson for other post-conflict situations.

"It is clear that the international authorities in Kosovo were unprepared for the massive abuses of human rights against minorities that accompanied the rapid return of the Albanian community," she said.

"As the international community discusses the future of Iraq it is essential that we learn the lessons of the past and ensure that measures are put in place to protect the human rights of vulnerable groups. It must be ensured from the outset that there is no impunity for the perpetrators of human rights abuses."

'Proper' resources

Amnesty is concerned that the ongoing persecution of ethnic minorities makes it unsafe for minority refugees and internally displaced people to return to their homes.

Of more than 230,000 Serbs, Roma and other minorities who fled Kosovo in 1999, only 5,800 have returned.

"While the viability of return continues to depend on K-for's presence, Amnesty International urges the international community to ensure that
no- one from a minority community is forcibly returned to Kosovo," Ms Allen said.

Amnesty is calling for proper resources for the UN civilian police force
(Unmik) and local authorities to ensure the thorough investigation of ethnically motivated human rights abuses.

To begin with, Unmik must extend witness protection to the witnesses of such crimes.

After the end of the conflict in July 1999 more than half the pre-war minority population fled to Serbia or Montenegro or took refuge in mono-ethnic enclaves in Kosovo guarded by K-for and Unmik.

About a third of the 100,000 Serbs and Roma in Kosovo live in three predominantly Serbian municipalities in the north of Kosovo.

Others live in mono-ethnic villages or under K-for protection in majority Albanian urban areas.

More than half the pre-war Slavic Muslim community of 67,000 fled in 1999. Now about 3% of the population, they are mainly concentrated in and around Prizren town.


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NEW SERB ALBANIAN TALKS "NEXT YEAR"
High level talks between Serbs and Albanian may be held in 2004, said UNMIK chief Harri Holkeri, following the anticlimactic Vienna dialogue on Tuesday between Belgrade and half a delegation from Pristina.

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SRNA News Agency, Bijeljina
October 17, 2003


Helsinki -- Friday - High level talks between Serbs and Albanian may be held in 2004, said UNMIK chief Harri Holkeri, following the anticlimactic Vienna dialogue on Tuesday between Belgrade and half a delegation from Pristina.

Holkeri also ruled out the issue of Kosovo's final status for the agenda, saying this could only be discussed once practical issues have been resolved.

"No new meetings have been scheduled, but I presume that some kind of a meeting may be organised next year," he told media in Helsinki today.

The Kosovo governor emphasised the need for progress in the fields of electrical energy and locating missing persons so that mass repatriations may begin.

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COMMANDER OF SERB-MONTENEGRIN ARMY MEETS NEW COMKFOR

Speaking to media after the meeting in the border town of Merdare, Kamerholf said that the peace and stability along the border was KFOR’s greatest success and had been achieved thanks to excellent cooperation with the Serbian-Montenegro Army and Serbian police.
 

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B92, Belgrade
October 17, 2003


MERDARE -- Friday – The chief of staff of the Serbian Montenegro Army, Branko Krga, spoke today to KFOR commander Holger Kamerholf about forms of cooperation on the border between Serbia and Kosovo.

Speaking to media after the meeting in the border town of Merdare, Kamerholf said that the peace and stability along the border was KFOR’s greatest success and had been achieved thanks to excellent cooperation with the Serbian-Montenegro Army and Serbian police.

Commenting on the infiltration of armed groups from Kosovo into the southern Serbian municipality of Kursumlija, Krga said that the issue was being given special consideration.

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ERP KIM Info-Service is the official Information Service of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raska and Prizren and works with the blessing of His Grace Bishop Artemije.
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